Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Testable implications of economic revolutions: An application to historic data on European wages

Fry, J. M. and Masood, Omar (2011): Testable implications of economic revolutions: An application to historic data on European wages.

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Abstract

Motivated by an on-going debate in economic history we develop a simple method to quantify the impact of economic revolutions upon a novel historical data set listing the wages of building craftsmen and labourers in Southeast Europe. Structural breaks are found in the data and signify the effects of economic revolutions. With a small number of localised exceptions economic revolutions, caused by technological and administrative progress, lead to a decrease in the long-term level of wage volatility and overall results suggest close analogies between biological and economic evolution. The Commercial Revolution (mid 16th-early 18th centuries) acts as an important pre-requisite for the later Industrial Revolution (mid 18th-19th centuries). The Price Revolution (15th-16th centuries) results in some short-term increases in wage volatility.

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