Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-jr42d Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-19T05:41:47.143Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2016

Gregory Clark*
Department of Economics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 Email:
Get access


Recent papers have suggested that the Industrial Revolution in Europe ultimately derives from the labor scarce economy of northwest Europe, which some trace back to the Black Death [Voigtländer and Voth (2013a) and Allen (2011)]. This paper examines the effects of the Black Death in England. Specifically, did it merely change relative factor prices, or did it lead to lasting gains in the efficiency of the economy after 1348? Extensive wage and price data from England 1210–1800 suggest that the population losses of the Black Death were associated with a surprising increase in economic efficiency, despite the decline in the scale of the economy. But this efficiency gain disappeared when population rose again in the 16th century. There is no sign of a connection between a labor scarce economy, and a switch to faster long run economic growth through technological advance.

Research Papers
Copyright © Université catholique de Louvain 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Allen, Robert C. (2009) The industrial revolution in miniature: The spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India. Journal of Economic History 69 (4), 901927.Google Scholar
Allen, Robert C. (2011) Why the industrial revolution was British: Commerce, induced innovation, and the scientific revolution. Economic History Review 64 (2), 357384.Google Scholar
Bailey, Mark (1996) Demographic decline in late medieval England: Some thoughts on recent research. Economic History Review, New Series 49 (1), 119.Google Scholar
Bean, J. M. W. (1991) Landlords. In Miller, Edward (ed.), The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Volume III, 1348-1500, pp. 526586. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Bedingfeld, A. L. (ed.) (1966) A Cartulary of Creake Abbey volume 35. Norfolk: Record Society Publications Norwich, Norfolk Record Society.Google Scholar
Blake, E. O. (ed.) (1981) The Cartulary of the Priory of St. Denys near Southampton. Southampton records series ; volume 24–25. Southampton: University Press.Google Scholar
Britnell, R. H. (1993) The Commercialization of English Society 1000–1500. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Broadberry, Stephen N., Campbell, Bruce, Klein, Alexander, Overton, Mark, van Leeuwen, Bas (2015) British Economic Growth, 1270-1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Brown, Vivian (ed.) (1992) Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters. Suffolk charters, volume 12. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press.Google Scholar
Cameron, Rondo (1989) A Concise Economic History of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Campbell, Bruce M. S. (2000) English Seigniorial Agriculture 1250–1450. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Campbell, Bruce M. S., Galloway, James and Murphy, Margaret (1992) Rural land use in the metropolitan Hinterland, 1270–1339: The evidence of inquisitiones post mortem. Agricultural History Review 40 (1), 122.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (1988) The cost of capital and medieval agricultural technique. Explorations in Economic History 25 (July), 265294.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (1991) Yields per acre in english agriculture 1266–1860: Evidence from payments to labour. Economic History Review 44 (3), 445460.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (1991) Labour productivity in english agriculture, 1300-1860. In Campbell, B. M. S. and Overton, Mark (ed.), Agricultural Productivity in the European Past, pp 211235. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (1992) The economics of exhaustion, the postan thesis, and the agricultural revolution. Journal of Economic History 52 (1), 6184.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (1998) Land Hunger: Land as a commodity and as a status good in England, 1500–1914. Explorations in Economic History 35 (1), 5982.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2001) Farm wages and living standards in the industrial revolution: England, 1670–1870. Economic History Review 54 (3), 477505.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2002) Farmland rental values and agrarian history: England and Wales, 1500–1912. European Review of Economic History 6 (3), 281309.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2005) The condition of the working-class in England, 1209–2004. Journal of Political Economy 113 (6), 13071340.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2007a) The long march of history: Farm wages, population and economic growth, England 1209–1869. Economic History Review 60 (1), 97136.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2007b) A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2010) The macroeconomic aggregates for England, 1209–2008. Research in Economic History 27, 51140.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory (2013) 1381 and the Malthus delusion. Explorations in Economic History 50 (1), 415.Google Scholar
Clark, Gregory and van derWerf, Ysbrand (1998) Work in progress. The industrious revolution? Journal of Economic History 58 (3), 830843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Coleman, M. C. (1984) Downham-in-the-Isle. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.Google Scholar
Coss, Peter R. (1980) The Langley Cartulary. Publications of the Dugdale Society, volume. 32. Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire: The Shakespeare Centre.Google Scholar
Coss, Peter R. (1986) The Early Records of Medieval Coventry. Records of Social and Economic History, New Series, volume 11. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Davenport, Frances G. (1906) The Economic Development of a Norfolk Manor, 1086–1565. London: Frank Cass.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Davis, G. R. C. (1958) Medieval Cartularies of Great Britain: a Short Catalogue. London: Longmans, Green.Google Scholar
De Moor, T. and van Zanden, J. L. (2010) Girl power: The European marriage pattern and labor markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period. Economic History Review 63 (1), 133Google Scholar
Denholm-Young, N. (1931) Chartulary of the Mediaeval Archives of Christ Church. Oxford Historical Society, Publications, volume 92. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
DeWindt, Edwin Brezette (1972) Land and People in Holywell-cum-Needingworth. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.Google Scholar
Dunning, Robert W. (1968) The Hylle Cartulary. Somerset Record Society Publications, volume 68. Yeovil Somerset: Somerset Record Office.Google Scholar
Dyer, Christopher (2005) An Age of Transition? Economy and Society in the Later Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Foulds, Trevor (1987) Medieval cartularies. Archives 18 (April), 335.Google Scholar
Franklin, M. J. (1988) The Cartulary of Daventry Priory. Publications of the Northamptonshire Record Society, volume 35. Northampton: Northamptonshire Record Society.Google Scholar
Gras, Norman Scott Brien (1930) The Economic and Social History of an English Village: Crawley, Hampshire, 909–1928. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Greif, Avner (2006) Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy: Lessons from Medieval Trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hallam, H. E. (1988) Population movements in England, 1086–1350: Postcript. In Hallam, H. E. (ed.), The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Vol. 2, 1042–1350, pp. 536593. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Harper-Bill, Christopher (1980–1) Blythburgh Priory Cartulary. Suffolk charters, vs. 2–3. Woodbridge [Eng.]: Boydell & Brewer.Google Scholar
Harvey, Barbara (1977) Westminster Abbey and its Estates in the Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Harvey, P. D. A. (1976) The Manorial Records of Cuxham, Oxfordshire, circa 1200–1359. London: Historical Manuscripts Commission, Joint Publication 23.Google Scholar
Harvey, P. D. A. (1984) Manorial Records. London: British Record Association.Google Scholar
Hassall, W. O. (1949) Cartulary of St. Mary Clerkenwell. Camden third series, volume 71. London: Royal Historical Society.Google Scholar
Hatcher, John (1977) Plague, Population, and the English Economy, 1348–1530. Studies in Economic and Social History. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
Hatcher, John (2011) Unreal wages: Long-run living standards and the ’Golden Age’ of the fifteenth century. In Dodds, B. and Liddy, C. (eds.), Commercial Activity, Markets and Entrepreneurs in the Middle Ages. Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk: Boydell Press.Google Scholar
Hockey, S. F. (ed.) (1974) The Beaulieu Cartulary. Southampton records series ; volume 17. Southampton: University Press.Google Scholar
Hodgett, Gerald A. J. (ed.) (1971) The Cartulary of Holy Trinity Aldgate. London Record Society publications ; volume 7. Leicester, London: Record Society.Google Scholar
London, Vera C. M. (1965) The Cartulary of Canonsleigh Abbey. Devon & Cornwall Record Society; new ser., volume 8. Torquay: Devonshire Press.Google Scholar
London, Vera C. M. (1979) The Cartulary of Bradenstoke Priory. Wiltshire Record Society, volume 35. Devizes, Wiltshire: Wiltshire Record Society.Google Scholar
Lopez, Robert S. (1967) The Birth of Europe. Trans. Dent, J. M. and Sons. London: M. Evans.Google Scholar
Neilson, Nellie (1898) Economic Conditions on the Manors of Ramsey Abbey. Philadelphia: Sherman and Co.Google Scholar
Poos, L. R. (1991) A Rural Society After the Black Death: Essex, 1350-1525. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Postan, M. M. (1972) The Medieval Economy and Society. An Economic History of Britain, 1100-1500. Berkeley and Los Angeles: UC Press.Google Scholar
Razi, Zvi (1980) Life, Marriage and Death in a Medieval Parish: Economy, Society and Demography in Halesowen, 1270-1400. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Rees, Una (ed.) (1975) The Cartulary of Shrewsbury Abbey. Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales. 2 v.Google Scholar
Salter, H. E. (1914–17) A Cartulary of the Hospital of St. John the Baptist. Oxford Historical Society, volume 66, 68, 69. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Salter, H. E. (1929) Cartulary of Oseney Abbey. Oxford Historical Society Series, volume 89-91, 97-98, 101. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Salter, H. E. (1930) The Boarstall Cartulary. Oxford Historical Society Series, volume 88. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Saltman, Avrom (1967) The Cartulary of Dale Abbey. Historical Manuscripts Commission; Joint Publication volume 11. London: H.M.S.O..Google Scholar
Thorner, Christopher Charles (1988) The Demesne of Rimpton, 938-1412: A Study in Economic Development. Ph.D. Dissertation, Oxford University.Google Scholar
Thrupp, Sylvia L. (1948) The Merchant Class of Medieval London. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
Timson, R. T. (ed.) (1973) The Cartulary of Blyth Priory. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Joint Publication volume 17. London: H.M.S.O..Google Scholar
Usher, Abbott Payson (1920) An introduction to the industrial history of England. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
van Zanden, J. L. and van Bavel, B. (2004) The jump-start of the Holland economy during the late-medieval crisis, c.1350-c.1500. Economic History Review 57 (3), 503532.Google Scholar
Voigtländer, N. and Voth, H-J. (2013a) The three horsemen of riches: Plague, war and urbanization in early modern Europe. Review of Economic Studies 80, 774811.Google Scholar
Voigtländer, N. and Voth, H-J. (2013b) How the West ‘invented’ fertility restriction. American Economic Review 103 (6), 22272264.Google Scholar
Voth, Hans-Joachim (2001) Time and Work in England, 1760–1830. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Watkin, Aelred (1952) The Great Chartulary of Glastonbury, Vol. 2. Somerset Record Society, volume 63. Frome: Butler & Tanner.Google Scholar
Wigram, Spencer R. (1895–1896) The Cartulary of the Monastery of St. Frideswide at Oxford. Oxford Historical Society Series, vols. 28, 31. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Woodcock, Audrey M. (1956) Cartulary of St. Gregory's Priory, Canterbury. Camden Third Series, volume 88. London: Royal Historical Society.Google Scholar