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Locating a chronology for the great divergence: a critical survey of published data deployed for the measurement of nominal wages for Ming and Qing China

O'Brien, Patrick and Deng, Kent (2015) Locating a chronology for the great divergence: a critical survey of published data deployed for the measurement of nominal wages for Ming and Qing China. Economic History working paper series (213/2015). The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

Since the publication of Kenneth Pomeranz’s seminal book The Great Divergence, the landscape of world and global history has changed dramatically. For the first time, living standards, instead of labour, land and capital productivities, have become the prime concern among historians in various parts of the world. The key to this decade-long debate hinges on quantity and quality of information for transnational and cross-regional comparisons. But due to the obvious constraints we historians constantly face, genuinely good data are frustratingly hard to obtain and thus set the upper limits for what we can possibly achieve. The task of the present study is to put some currently circulated nominal wages for the Ming-Qing Period (1368-1911) under the microscope to check their feasibility. Our main findings from Chinese sources suggest that published cash wages did not reflect the actual living wages needed in reality to support a worker and his family of the average size. This means that we may have been barking at the wrong tree.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/home.aspx
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N15 - Asia including Middle East
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N35 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Asia including Middle East
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O11 - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O5 - Economywide Country Studies > O53 - Asia including Middle East
P - Economic Systems > P4 - Other Economic Systems > P44 - National Income, Product, and Expenditure; Money; Inflation
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2015 11:58
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2019 23:34
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/60798

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