The Economic Impact of the Black Death
Remi Jedwab (),
Noel Johnson () and
Mark Koyama ()
Working Papers from The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy
*This paper is part of a Symposium organized by Dr. Remi Jedwab of the George Washington University that will appear in the Journal of Economic Literature.* The Black Death was the largest demographic shock in European history. We review the evidence for the origins, spread, and mortality of the disease. We document that it was a plausibly exogenous shock to the European economy and trace out its aggregate and local impacts in both the short-run and the long-run. The initial effect of the plague was highly disruptive. Wages and per capita income rose. But, in the long-run, this rise was only sustained in some parts of Europe. The other indirect long-run effects of the Black Death are associated with the growth of Europe relative to the rest of the world, especially Asia and the Middle East (the Great Divergence), a shift in the economic geography of Europe towards the Northwest (the Little Divergence), the demise of serfdom in Western Europe, a decline in the authority of religious institutions, and the emergence of stronger states. Finally, avenues for future research are laid out.
Keywords: Pandemics; Black Death; Institutions; Cities; Urbanization; Malthusian Theory; Demography; Long-Run Growth; Middle Ages; Europe; Asia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N00 N13 I15 I14 J11 O10 O43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 52 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-gro, nep-his and nep-lab
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Working Paper: The Economic Impact of the Black Death (2020)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2020-14
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