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The Long March of History: Farm Wages, Population and Economic Growth, England 1209-1869

Gregory Clark ()

No 170, Working Papers from University of California, Davis, Department of Economics

Abstract: The paper forms three series for English farm workers 1209-1869: nominal daywages, the implied marginal product of a day of farm labour, and thepurchasing power of a days? wage in terms of farm workers? consumption.These series suggest that labour productivity in English agriculture was alreadyhigh in the middle ages. Further they fit well with one method of estimatingmedieval population which suggests a peak English population circa 1300 ofnearly 6 million. Finally they imply that both agricultural technology and thegeneral efficiency of the economy was static from 1250 till 1600. Economicchanges were in these years entirely a product of demographic shifts. Finallyin 1600 to 1800 technological advance in agriculture provided an alternativesource of dynamism in the English economy.

Keywords: farm wages; economic wages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J31 N10 N50 O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-08-31
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