Save

Real Wages in Early Economies: Evidence for Living Standards from 1800 BCE to 1300 CE

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
Author: Walter Scheidel
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution

Purchase

Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€29.95$34.95

Abstract

Price and wage data from Roman Egypt in the first three centuries CE indicate levels of real income for unskilled workers that are comparable to those implied by price and wage data in Diocletian’s price edict of 301 CE and to those documented in different parts of Europe and Asia in the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. In all these cases, consumption was largely limited to goods that were essential for survival and living standards must have been very modest. A survey of daily wages expressed in terms of wheat in different Afroeurasian societies from 1800 BCE to 1300 CE yields similar results: with a few exceptions, the real incomes of unskilled laborers tended to be very low.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 520 106 6
Full Text Views 289 43 10
PDF Views & Downloads 198 81 9