Wages and Heights in Eighteenth and Early Nineteeth Hispanic America
affiliation not provided to SSRN
Rafael Dobado Gonzáles
Universidad Complutense Madrid - Department of Economic History
January 27, 2010
This basically empirical paper departs from an authoritative neo-institutional scholarship since it merely attempts at exploring and widening the limited available quantitative evidence on wages (nominal and real) and on physical statures in Bourbon Hispanic America. While we take advantage of other authors’ works on prices and wages, our significant sample of heights constitutes an original contribution to a field that has not yet received the attention it deserves. In our interpretation, the evidence collected challenges widespread and influential ideas about the standard of living of labourers and about the economic inequality in some of the American territories of the Hispanic Monarchy. From an international comparative perspective, neither real wages, especially in terms of a superior good such as meat, were as low nor heights as short as many scholars assume. Therefore, long run inferences on the economic consequences of the “colonial legacy” that are based on those ill-founded assumptions should be reconsidered.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Colonial Latin America, inequality, biological well-being, real wages, standards of living
JEL Classification: I30, J30, N16, N36working papers series
Date posted: January 27, 2010
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