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Prices, Food and Wages in Scotland, 1550–1780


  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521037808

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About the Authors
  • This 1994 book is a study of Scottish price history and a major contribution to the economic and social history of early modern and pre-industrial Britain. Using the remarkable series of 'fiars' prices for grains and other contemporary sources, Gibson and Smout focus, in particular, on the prices of grain, meal and animal products, and assess how Scots artisans and labourers could survive in an economy that could pay only very low money wages. The authors show how the Scottish people experienced fluctuations in welfare both in the longer term from generation to generation, and within a given life-cycle. The Scottish records on prices and wages are a unique historical resource, to which Gibson and Smout have applied both traditional and quantitative historical techniques. In so doing they produced a powerful contribution to the perennial debate on the standard of living of ordinary people prior to the onset of industrialization.

    • Major investigation of standard of living in pre-industrial society
    • Smout is the leading historian of Scotland alive today
    • Includes very important appendices of price-wage data - a record series unique to Scotland
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an excellent statistical survey … represents a major advance in our understanding of early modern and eighteenth century Scotland.' Economic History Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521037808
    • length: 416 pages
    • dimensions: 243 x 169 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.675kg
    • contains: 40 b/w illus. 110 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of figures
    List of tables
    List of abbreviations
    A note on Scottish and English money
    Map of Scottish counties and principal burghs
    1. Introduction
    2. The system of burgh price regulation
    3. The system of county fiars
    4. Press reports of monthly market prices
    5. Trends and fluctuations in grain price movements
    6. The price of animals and animal products
    7. Food
    8. Wages in money and kind
    9. Real wages
    Appendix I: Scottish weights and measures, 1580–1780
    Appendix II: accessing the data
    Person index
    Place index
    Subject index.

  • Authors

    A. J. S. Gibson, University of Plymouth

    T. C. Smout, University of St Andrews, Scotland

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