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Wages, labour markets, and living standards in China, 1530-1840

Liu, Dr Ziang (2024) Wages, labour markets, and living standards in China, 1530-1840. Explorations in Economic History, 92. ISSN 0014-4983

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.eeh.2023.101569


This article studies the long-term wage development in China between 1530 and 1840. In the long run, nominal wages moved in tandem with prices, but did not respond as quickly as the increase in prices. Real wages experienced two substantial falls between the 1620s-1650s and the 1740s-1760s, but remained relatively stable in the remainder of the period examined. Rural-urban wage disparities suggest that the agricultural sector, rather than urban industries, continued to absorb surplus labour. A comparison of wages in Lower Yangzi China and England suggests that the wage gap widens after 1700.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author
Divisions: Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N30 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: General, International, or Comparative (Migration)
N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N15 - Asia including Middle East
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs > J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials by Skill, Training, Occupation, etc.
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2024 16:12
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 01:07

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