EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Wealth, work, and industriousness, 1670–1860: Evidence from rural Swedish probates

Marcus Falk (), Erik Bengtsson () and Mats Olsson ()
Additional contact information
Marcus Falk: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Erik Bengtsson: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden
Mats Olsson: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

No 251, Lund Papers in Economic History from Lund University, Department of Economic History

Abstract: This paper uses a new database of 1,891 probate inventories from rural southern Sweden from the 1670s to the 1860s to investigate the development of wealth and productive capacity in the Swedish countryside in this period. We show that while real wages fell in the 1700s, material living standards — as measured by the contents of probate inventories — improved, indicating greater labour inputs. This was not driven by more widespread ownership of the means of production, as the rural underclasses rather owned less means of production over time, and to some extent farmers did too. The wage labour inputs of the labouring classes intensified, and for workers’ and farmers’ households alike, textile production at home became more important; in the 1860s, half of working-class households owned spinning wheels and weaving looms, and for farmer households, the shares were 68 and 82 per cent, respectively. We argue that the results support an interpretation of an industrious revolution in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Sweden, with the improving material living standards shown by probate inventories, in contrast to the stagnating GDP per capita suggested by historical national accounts research.

Keywords: living standards; industrious revolution; Sweden; probate inventories; early modern Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N33 N43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 32 pages
Date: 2023-09-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://lup.lub.lu.se/record/f35c99c8-f835-479e-be65-eb3f56f1c521 Full text (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0251

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Lund Papers in Economic History from Lund University, Department of Economic History Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Tobias Karlsson () and Benny Carlsson ().

 
Page updated 2024-02-26
Handle: RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0251