Living Standards in the Past: New Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and Europe by Robert C. AllenLiving Standards in the Past: New Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and Europe by Robert C. Allen

Living Standards in the Past: New Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and Europe

EditorRobert C. Allen, Tommy Bengtsson, Martin Dribe

Hardcover | November 7, 2005

Pricing and Purchase Info

$338.60 online 
$450.00 list price save 24%
Earn 1,693 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Why did Europe experience industrialisation and modern economic growth before China, India or Japan? This is one of the most fundamental questions in Economic History and one that has provoked intense debate. The main concern of this book is to determine when the gap in living standardsbetween the East and the West emerged. The established view, dating back to Adam Smith, is that the gap emerged long before the Industrial Revolution, perhaps thousands of years ago. While this view has been called into question - and many of the explanations for it greatly undermined - the issuedemands much more empirical research than has yet been undertaken. How did the standard of living in Europe and Asia compare in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? The present book proposes an answer by considering evidence of three sorts. The first is economic, focusing on income, foodproduction, wages, and prices. The second is demographic, comparing heights, life expectancy and other demographic indicators. The third combines the economic and demographic by investigating the demographic vulnerability to short-term economic stress.The contributions show the highly complex and diverse pattern of the standard of living in the pre-industrial period. The general picture emerging is not one of a great divergence between East and West, but instead one of considerable similarities. These similarities not only pertain to economicaspects of standard of living but also to demography and the sensitivity to economic fluctuations. In addition to these similarities, there were also pronounced regional differences within the East and within the West - regional differences that in many cases were larger than the average differencesbetween Europe and Asia. This clearly highlights the importance of analysing several dimensions of the standard of living, as well as the danger of neglecting regional, social, and household specific differences when assessing the level of well-being in the past.
Robert Allen is Professor of Economic History at Oxford University and a fellow of Nuffield College. He received his doctorate from Harvard University. He has written extensively on English agricultural history, international competition in the steel industry, the extinction of whales, the global history of wages and prices, and conte...
Title:Living Standards in the Past: New Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and EuropeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:494 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.26 inPublished:November 7, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199280681

ISBN - 13:9780199280681

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction1. Kenneth Pomeranz: Standards of living in 18th century China: Regional differences, temporal trends and incomplete evidence2. Li Bozhong: Farm labour productivity in Jiangnan, 1620-18503. Osamu Saito: Wages, inequality and pre-industrial growth in Japan, 1727-18944. Prasannan Parthasarathi: Agriculture, labour, and the standard of living in 18th century India5. Robert C. Allen: Real wages in Europe and Asia: A first look at the long-term patterns6. P. Hoffman, D. Jacks, P. Levin and P. Lindert: Sketching the rise of real inequality in early modern europe7. Jan Luiten van Zanden: What happened to the standard of living before the industrial revolution? New evidence from the western part of the Netherlands8. Jaime Reis: Economic growth, human capital formation and consumption in western Europe before 18009. Richard Steckel: Health and nutrition in the pre-industrial era: Insights from a millenium of average heights in northern Europe10. Boris Mironov: The burden of grandeur: Physical and economic well-being of the Russian population in the 18th century11. E. Hammel and A. Gullickson: Mental mortality as an indicator of the standard of living in 18th and 19th century Slavonia12. Hans Christian Johansen: The standard of living in Denmark in the 18th and early 19th centuries13. M. Breschi, A. Fornasin, and G. Gonano: Short-term demographic changes in relation to economic fluctuations: The case of Tuscany during pre-transitional period14. T. Bengtsson and M. Dribe: New evidence on the standard of living in Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries: Long-term development of the demographic response to short-term economic stress15. M. Oris, G. Alter and M. Neven: Individuals and communities facing economic stress: A comparison of two rural areas in 19th century Belgium16. C. Campbell and J. Lee: Living standards in Liaoing, 1749-1909: Evidence from demographic outcomes17. N.Tsuya and S. Kurosu: Demographic responses to short-term economic stress in the 18th and 19th century rural Japan: Evidence from two northeastern villages