American Incomes Before and after the Revolution

72 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011 Last revised: 24 Jul 2011

See all articles by Peter H. Lindert

Peter H. Lindert

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeffrey G. Williamson

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus; Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: July 2011

Abstract

Building social tables in the tradition of Gregory King, we develop new estimates suggesting that between 1774 and 1800 American incomes fell in real per capita terms. The colonial South was richer than the North at the start, but was already beginning to lose its income lead by 1800. We also find that free American colonists had much more equal incomes than did households in England and Wales. The colonists also had greater purchasing power than their English counterparts over all of the income ranks except in the top few percent.

Suggested Citation

Lindert, Peter H. and Williamson, Jeffrey G., American Incomes Before and after the Revolution (July 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17211, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1882178

Peter H. Lindert (Contact Author)

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Jeffrey G. Williamson

Harvard University - Department of Economics, Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Emeritus ( email )

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