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Land rental values and the agrarian economy: England and Wales, 1500-1914

GREGORY CLARK
European Review of Economic History
Vol. 6, No. 3 (DECEMBER 2002), pp. 281-308
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41377926
Page Count: 28
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Land rental values and the agrarian economy: England and Wales, 1500-1914
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Abstract

I use the rents and prices of land held by charities in England to estimate statistically nominal and real farmland rental values, including payments for tithe and taxes, from 1500 to 1912. The series measures rental values when land was rented in a competitive market, not the average rents paid by land occupiers which would often be lower because of customary leases. An advantage of the methods used here over older ones is that the sampling error in the series can be calculated. The series show rapid shifts of income toward landowners and away from wages around 1600 and 1800, but back toward wages after 1870. Land rental values are much higher before 1820 than in the recent series of Michael Turner, John Beckett and Bethany Afton. This implies that agricultural productivity was high before 1800: higher than could be consistent with an agricultural revolution either alongside or before the Industrial Revolution.

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