Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

FAILURE TO LAUNCH: COST OF LIVING AND LIVING STANDARDS IN PERU DURING THE 19TH CENTURY*

  • Leticia Arroyo Abad (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Based on a variety of archival sources, this paper presents estimations for cost of living and living standards for Lima, Peru during the 19th century. During this century Peru experienced deep swings in economic activity marked by the independence wars, the War of the Pacific, and a commodity boom. These new series show that a sizable inflationary period during the guano age had dampening effects on the living standards of the popular class. While living standards peaked by mid 1850s, GDP per capita did not do so until two decades later. These results suggest that the guano bonanza failed to lift working-class living standards above subsistence levels. Even though living standards climbed steadily, almost reaching those of England, all these gains were lost by the end of the century.

RESUMEN

Basado en diversas fuentes primarias, este artículo presenta estimaciones de costo de vida y estándares de vida para Lima, Perú durante el siglo XIX. Durante esta centuria este país sufrió profundos vaivenes en la actividad económica debido a las guerras de la independencia, la guerra del Pacífico y a un auge monoexportador. Estas series delinean un importante proceso inflacionario durante la era del guano que tuvo efectos adversos en los estándares de vida de la clase popular. Mientras que los estándares de vida llegaron a su punto máximo en los mediados de la década de los 50, el PIB per cápita lo hizo dos décadas más tarde. Estos resultados sugieren que la bonanza del guano no logró mejorar el bienestar económico de la clase popular de manera sustentable. A pesar de alcanzar niveles cercanos al inglés, estos beneficios se evaporaron al fin de siglo.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All

I would like to thank the four anonymous referees and the editor for their comments and suggestions. I acknowledge the financial support provided by the National Science Foundation and the American Philosophical Society.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. Allen (2001): «The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War». Explorations in Economic History, 38, pp. 411-447.

R. J. Allen ; D. M. A. Bassino ; C. Moll-Murata J. L. Van Zanden (2011): «Wages, Prices, and Living Standards in China, 1738-1925: In Comparison with Europe, Japan, and India». Economic History Review, 64 (1), pp. 8-38.

L. Arroyo Abad ; E. Davies J. L. Van Zanden (2012): «Between Conquest and Independence: Real wages and demographic change in Spanish America, 1530-1820». Explorations in Economic History, 49 (2), pp. 149-166.

L. Arroyo Abad (2013): «Inestabilidad, Bienestar Económico y Costo de Vida en Venezuela durante el siglo XIX». América Latina en la Historia Económica, 20 (3), pp. 114-137.

E. Cuesta (2007): «Precios y mercados en Buenos Aires en el siglo XVIII». América Latina en la Historia Económica, 14 (2), pp. 25-57.

P. Gootenberg (1990): «Carneros y Chuño: Price Levels in Nineteenth-Century Peru». The Hispanic American Historical Review, 70 (1), pp. 1-56.

E. Langer G. L. Hames (1994): «Commerce and Credit on the Periphery: Tarija Merchants, 1830-1914». The Hispanic American Historical Review, 74 (2), pp. 285-316.

S. Özmucur Ş. Pamuk (2002): «Real Wages and Standards of Living in the Ottoman Empire, 1489-1914». Journal of Economic History, 62 (2), pp. 293-321.

R. Romano (1963): «Movimiento de los precios y desarrollo económico: El caso de Sudamérica en el siglo XVIII». Desarrollo Económico, 3, pp. 31-43.

R. Thorp G. Bertram (1978): Peru 1890-1977, Growth and Policy in an Open Economy. New York: Columbia University Press.

L. Twrdek K. Manzel (2010): «The Seed of Abundance and Misery Peruvian Living Standards from the Early Republican Period to the End of the Guano Era (1820-1880)». Economics & Human Biology, 8 (2), pp. 145-152.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History
  • ISSN: 0212-6109
  • EISSN: 2041-3335
  • URL: /core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 46 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.