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Poor Relief and English Economic Development before the Industrial Revolution

Peter M. Solar
The Economic History Review
New Series, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Feb., 1995), pp. 1-22
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society
DOI: 10.2307/2597868
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2597868
Page Count: 22
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Poor Relief and English Economic Development before the Industrial Revolution
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Abstract

The English system of poor relief helped to shape the country's distinctive pre-industrial economy. English relief, when set against continental experience, stands out as uniform and comprehensive in coverage; as reliant on local property taxation for funding; and as generous and reliable in benefits. The insurance provided by relief underpinned the growth of a mobile wage-labour force and facilitated changes inland tenure and use. The fiscal impact of relief expenditure gave taxpayers incentives to put labourers to work and to keep local demographic and economic development in balance.

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