Long-term changes in late imperial China’s real wages and GDP per capita, 1000-1900: an reexamination and reassessment

Guanglin, William LIU, Kaixiang PENG, Dwight H. PERKINS

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Abstract

Scholars across the globe have debated on the living standard of Chinese people in comparison to Europeans before the Industrial Revolution. The debate shows a wide range of differences among scholars in measuring pre-industrial economic growth in China. Finding new quantitative evidence is extremely important to solve this problem. In this paper, we aim to give a thorough examination of the extant primary sources and provide some important real wage data that will provide new insights on long-term changes in the living standard of some areas in China from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. First, we use price and wage data drawn from Ming shilu, a compilation of the administrative records by the Ming dynasty government (1368-1644). Second, we find in the preserved historical documents at Huizhou, south of the Yangtze River and close to Jiangnan, a rich collection of merchant ledgers with wages and commodity prices that covered...
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventXVIII World Economic History Congress: Waves of Globalization - MIT, Boston, United States
Duration: 29 Jul 20183 Aug 2018
http://wehc2018.org/

Conference

ConferenceXVIII World Economic History Congress
Abbreviated titleWEHC BOSTON 2018
CountryUnited States
CityBoston
Period29/07/183/08/18
Internet address

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Bibliographical note

Panel : Real Wages across the Globe: From Antiquity to the Present

Cite this

LIU, G. W., PENG, K., & PERKINS, D. H. (2018). Long-term changes in late imperial China’s real wages and GDP per capita, 1000-1900: an reexamination and reassessment. Paper presented at XVIII World Economic History Congress, Boston, United States.