Prices, wages, incomes and work in the South. Standards of living in the Mediterranean area in preindustrial times

Parallel II. Arriaga Room

Ernesto López Losa (UPV/EHU)

Jacob Weisdorf (Sapienza Università di Roma)

The aim of this session is to bring together researchers interested in the study of prices, wages, income and labour in the southern European periphery in preindustrial times from a comparative point of view. Although debates around their significance have recently flourished, real wages are still a point of reference in long-term studies on human well-being, particularly in comparative perspective. In addition, the reconstruction of real wage series is central to some of the meta-narratives on the origins of growth and global economic divergence such as the Great and Little Divergences, the Industrious Revolutions, and the measure of human capital (skill premium).

The central works of Robert Allen (2001), Jan Luiten van Zanden (2009), Şevket Pamuk (2007), Pablo Malanima (2013) and Palma and Reis (2019) have included Mediterranean Europe in some of these major debates. Some of these works are, however, based on prices and salaries collected long ago, and more recent literature have contested some of the earlier claims (García-Zúñiga and López Losa 2019; López Losa y Piquero Zarauz 2016; Mocarelli 2004, 2018; Ridolfi 2017; Rota and Weisdorf 2016, 2019; Stephenson 2018; 2019; Hatcher and Stephenson, 2019). On the other hand, classic computations on the evolution of real wages based on the breadwinner model and on daily wages in construction are giving way to broader estimates that also incorporate women’s and child’s wages, gender differences in labour pay, estimates of annual household income, along with other types of studies that address important aspects in the formation of annual income: seasonality and duration of work throughout the year. (Horrell, Humphries and Weisdorf 2019a; 2019b; 2019c; Humphries and Weisdorf 2015, 2016, 2019; López Losa et al. 2019).

The session aims to form a space for discussion on these issues, as well as future lines of research. An international call for papers will be made to invite researchers interested in the subject, with special focus on quantitative studies that address the subject in comparative perspective.

Accepted papers

DRELICHMANN, Mauricio (University of British Columbia, Canada); GONZÁLEZ-AGUDO, David (Universidad de Valencia, España), Castilian wages in the long run: Toledo, 1520-1912.

MUÑOZ ABELEDO, Luisa (Universidade de Santiago, España), Wages, prices and family budgets in Northwest of Spain from a gender perspective (1700-1900). 

MOCARELLI, Luca (Milano-Bicocca University, Italy); ONGARO, Giulio (Milano -Bicocca University, Italy); VAQUERO PINEIRO, Manuel (University of Perugia),  Why living standard should be reconsidered? New evidences from Lombardy and the State of the Church in the XVIIIth century.

RIDOLFI, Leonardo (University of Siena, Italy), The days they worked, the incomes they earned: new perspectives on work patterns and annual earnings in the French construction sector (1320-1850).

FERNÁNDEZ, Eva (Univesidad Carlos III, España), Real income of women in Spain: evidence from permanent workers, 1500-1850.