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Standards of Living and Skill Premia in Eighteenth Century Denmark: What can we learn from a large microlevel wage database?

Peter Jensen (), Cristina Victoria Radu and Paul Sharp ()
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Cristina Victoria Radu: University of Southern Denmark

No 180, Working Papers from European Historical Economics Society (EHES)

Abstract: Granular microdata is of growing interest within economics and economic history. Thus, we document, present, and make available to the scholarly community a uniquely detailed database of 20,152 observations of wages and 30,000 observations of prices in rural Denmark for men, women and children, and for both skilled and unskilled workers over the eighteenth century. We the proceed to illustrate two potential applications. First, we construct nominal wages and deflate them using Allen’s constant consumer baskets. Real wages exhibit a considerable fall with the introduction of serfdom, and other changes consistent with known historical events. Second, we consider skill premia, finding no secular trends between skill categories, but considerable variation both within and between categories over time, suggesting that estimates based on simple averages should be interpreted with caution.

Keywords: Denmark; microdata; prices; skill premia; wages (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J31 N33 N93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 15 pages
Date: 2020-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-ore
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