The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Real Wage Rates (Historical Trends)

  • Robert C. Allen
Reference work entry


Historical studies of the real wage allow us to track the divergence in the world of economics since the Middle Ages and changes in the distribution of income during the Industrial Revolution. Before the 19th century, the real wage moved inversely to the population. Since then it has increased dramatically.


Black death Capital accumulation Capitalism Consumer price index Economic development Factor prices Great divergence Index numbers Industrial Revolution Inequality in wages International migration International trade Malthus’s theory of population National income accounting Price histories Productivity Real wage Solow, R. Standards of living Subsistence Surplus labour Technical change Wage ladder 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.