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Farm Wages and Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution: England, 1670-1869

Gregory Clark
The Economic History Review
Vol. 54, No. 3 (Aug., 2001), pp. 477-505
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3091761
Page Count: 29
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Farm Wages and Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution: England, 1670-1869
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Abstract

This article calculates, nationally and by region, real wages for male English farm workers. Rural living costs are also estimated. Only in the 1820s did real day wages begin to increase from their level in the century before the industrial revolution, but by the 1860s they had climbed to 46 per cent above the average for 1670-1769. It is argued that these farm real wage gains will imply equivalent improvements in urban living standards. But, given what we know of land rents and returns on capital, farm wages entail no agricultural productivity gains before 1820, and modest gains thereafter.

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