Towards an Explanation of Inequality in Premodern Societies: The Role of Colonies, Urbanization, and High Population Density

19 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2018

See all articles by Branko Milanovic

Branko Milanovic

City University of New York - CUNY Graduate Center

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

Using a newly expanded set of 41 social tables from premodern societies, this article tries to identify the factors associated with the level of inequality and the inequality extraction ratio (how close to the maximum inequality the elites have pushed actual inequality). Strong evidence is found to show that elites in colonies were more extractive, and that more densely populated and less urbanized countries exhibited lower extraction ratios. Several possibilities are proposed, linking high population density to low inequality and to low elite extraction.

Suggested Citation

Milanovic, Branko, Towards an Explanation of Inequality in Premodern Societies: The Role of Colonies, Urbanization, and High Population Density (November 2018). The Economic History Review, Vol. 71, Issue 4, pp. 1029-1047, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3264247 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12613

Branko Milanovic (Contact Author)

City University of New York - CUNY Graduate Center ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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