The Surprising Wealth of Pre-Industrial England

36 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2010

See all articles by Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Joseph Cummins

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Brock Smith

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 3, 2010

Abstract

Occupations listed in wills reveal that as early as 1560 effectively only 60% of the English engaged in farming. Even by 1817, well into the Industrial Revolution, the equivalent primary share, once we count in food and raw material imports, was still 52%. By implication, incomes in pre-industrial England were close to those of 1800. Urbanization rates are not a good guide to pre-industrial income levels. Many rural workers were engaged in manufacturing, services and trade. The occupation shares also imply pre-industrial England was rich enough in 1560 to rank above the bottom fifth of countries in 2007.

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory and Cummins, Joseph and Smith, Brock, The Surprising Wealth of Pre-Industrial England (August 3, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1653154 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1653154

Gregory Clark (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Joseph Cummins

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Brock Smith

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

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