The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004

Posted: 15 Dec 2005

See all articles by Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Abstract

I use building workers' wages for 1209-2004 and the skill premium to consider the causes and consequences of the Industrial Revolution. Real wages were trendless before 1800, as would be predicted for the Malthusian era. Comparing wages with population, however, suggests that the break from the technological stagnation of the Malthusian era came around 1640, long before the classic Industrial Revolution, and even before the arrival of modern democracy in 1689. Building wages also conflict with human capital interpretations of the Industrial Revolution, as modeled by Gary Becker, Kevin Murphy, and Robert Tamura; Oded Galor and David Weil; and Robert Lucas. Human capital accumulation began when the rewards for skills were unchanged and when fertility was increasing.

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory, The Condition of the Working Class in England, 1209-2004. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 113, December 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=869754

Gregory Clark (Contact Author)

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

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

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