Wages, Prices, and Living Standards in China,1738-1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India
Jan Luiten van Zanden
The paper develops data on the history of wages and prices in China from thr eighteenth century to the twentieth. These data are used to coompare Beijing, Canton, Suzhou and Shanghai to leading cities in Europe, India, and Japan in terms of nominal wages, the cost of living, and the standard of living. In the eighteenth century, the real income of building workers in Asia was similar to that of workers in the backward parts of Europe and far behind that of workers in the leading economies of northwestern Europe. Industrialization led to rising real wages in Europe and Japan. Real wages declined in China in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and rose slowly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth. There was little cumulative changae in the standard of living or workers in Beijing, Canton, and lower Yangzi cities for two hundred years. The income disparities of the early twentieth century were due to long run stagnation in China combined development in Japan and Europe.
Great Divergence, Preindustrial Real Wages, England, Europe, China, Japan, India
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