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The first poverty line? Davies' and Eden's investigation of rural poverty in the late 18th-century England

Gazeley, Ian and Verdon, Nicola (2014) The first poverty line? Davies' and Eden's investigation of rural poverty in the late 18th-century England. Explorations in Economic History, 51. 94 - 108. ISSN 0014-4983

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.eeh.2012.09.001

Abstract

Two important and well-known surveys of the household budgets of the English rural labouring poor were produced by David Davies and Frederick Eden in the 1790s. We revisit these from the point of view of their original rationale — an investigation of the characteristics and extent of poverty in the countryside. We argue that Davies' standard of ‘tolerable comfort’ can lay claim to being the first poverty line based upon the application of a minimum consumption standard to household income. We find that the majority of households fall below this standard, although those in the south of England were worst off, that family size was the largest coefficient and poverty reduced as the age of the first child increased. The incidence of poverty was not highly correlated with the absence of a woman wage earner.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/explorations...
Additional Information: © 2012 Elsevier Inc
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N33 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: Pre-1913
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I32 - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J4 - Particular Labor Markets > J43 - Agricultural Labor Markets
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2019 16:33
Last Modified: 20 May 2020 04:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/102757

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