Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Did Incomes Grow in Pre-Industrial England?

This is a current point of contention among economic historians. Gregory Clark thinks that in the long-run they did not though they fluctuated considerably. In the wake of the Black Death incomes were high due to the increase in land per worker and they subsequently fell as population grew till eventually rising gain as the industrial revolution approached. I think this much is agreed but the question is how high were incomes in the late 14th Century. Clark thinks they were just as high as at the beginning of the 19th century. Gunnar Persson deems this "The Malthus Delusion". As an interesting aside I was amazed at how popular the name John was in 14th Century Essex:

I would have thought it was popular, but not this popular.

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