2017/14 LEM Working Paper Series

Six centuries of real wages in France from Louis IX to Napoleon III: 1250-1860

Leonardo Ridolfi
Real wages, Living standards, France

  JEL Classifications
I30, J3, N33, O10

This article presents a new series of real wages for male agricultural laborers and construction workers in France from 1250 to 1860. I show that the overall picture is more complex than what a city-level early modern divergence thesis between northwestern Europe and the rest of the continent would suggest. Cross-national comparisons of real wages point to the coexistence of both divergence and convergence phases until the eighteenth century. One important implication is that the real wages of a significant share of the French male labor force were broadly on par with the levels prevailing in England before c.1750.
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