Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Economic inequality in preindustrial Germany, ca. 1300–1850

Alfani, Guido, Gierok, Victoria and Schaff, Felix (2022) Economic inequality in preindustrial Germany, ca. 1300–1850. Journal of Economic History, 82 (1). 87 - 125. ISSN 0022-0507

[img] Text (economic-inequality-in-preindustrial-germany-ca-13001850) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (4MB)

Identification Number: 10.1017/S0022050721000607


This article provides an overview of wealth inequality in Germany during 1300–1850, introducing a novel database. We document four alternating phases of inequality decline and growth. The Black Death (1347–1352) led to inequality decline, until about 1450. Thereafter, inequality rose steadily. The Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) and the 1627–1629 plague triggered a second phase of inequality reduction. This distinguishes Germany from other European areas where inequality grew monotonically. Inequality growth resumed from about 1700, well before the Industrial Revolution. Our findings offer new material to current debates on the determinants of inequality change in western societies, past and present.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
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
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 12:48
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 19:45

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics