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British Economic Growth, 1300-1850

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Natalia Mora-Sitja.

We provide annual estimates of GDP for England between 1300 and 1700 and for Great Britain between 1700 and 1850, constructed from the output side. The GDP data are combined with population estimates to calculate GDP per capita. Estimates of nominal GDP are also provided by combining the volume series with price indices. Previous studies, based on the analysis of daily real wages, have found no trend growth before the late eighteenth century. In contrast, we find English per capita income growth of 0.13 per cent per annum between 1300 and 1700, with the strongest growth after the Black Death and in the second half of the seventeenth century. For the period 1700-1850, we find British per capita income growth of 0.25 per cent, broadly in line with the widely accepted Crafts/Harley estimates. The modest trend growth in per capita income before the Industrial Revolution can be reconciled with the stability of daily real wages because of an “industrious revolution”, increasing the days worked per year.

This talk is part of the Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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