Pamuk, S. (2007) The Great European Divergence

Pamuk, Şevket (2007) “The Black Death and the origins of the ‘Great Divergence’ across Europe, 1300-1600”, European Review of Economic History, 11/3, 289-317.

ponspamuk_son_adoctors-ii

Introduction

Recent historiography has dramatically changed the way the impact of the Black Death on the European economy was perceived. It came to be seen as a ‘creative destruction’ process, a source of “long-term changes that paved the way for the emergence of modern Europe” (p.290). In their research for the origins of the Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the West, historians have also pointed out the significance of the differences in real wages between Northwestern Europe and the Mediterranean world (p.291). Yet, the wages gap between these two regions originated even before the 1600s (p.292).

Consequences of the plague

The post-plague demographic recovery lasted until the 16th century, although with significant regional variations (see table). The economic consequences of the crisis were as dramatic and long-lasting. Total output did not fall as sharply as the population and thus output per capita increased significantly after 1350.

picture-4

Factor prices and sectoral terms of trade were in turmoil. Real wages doubled in most countries (see graph). Pattern of demand evolved towards goods with higher income elasticity. The Middle East (Byzance, Ottoman territories, Egypt) followed the same trend.

picture-7

After the epidemic outbreak, price rose (“consistent with the decline in overall economic activity while the money stock remained little changed”). But the flow of bullion out of Europe to acquire Eastern luxuries gradually triggered a long-term decrease that lasted until the 1500s (p.295).

Wage gap between North and South after 1450

After a sudden rise in the 1350-1450 period, real wages slowly began to decrease as population grew (p.298). A similar trend can be observed in the Middle East, symptomatically, in Byzance, the price of slaves doubled over the 14th century. The crisis of the last 100 years of the Byzantine Empire disturbed the general trend (high prices, low real wages), but the region went back into the general trend in the 16th century as the Ottoman conquest brought back stability (p.301).

picture-51

Until 1450, the real wage levels were roughly similar over Europe but by 1600 a wage gap between North and South was easily identifiable (p.302). “The increase in real wages until 1450 in the northwestern cities and the decline after 1450 was slower in relation to the leading cities in the south”.

“The skill premium began to decline under the conditions of sever labour shortages. (…) In the 16th century, however, the skill premium in Italy went back up along with the recovery of the population, but it stayed at its lower levels in northwestern Europe” (p.303).

So if real wage evidence are used as a proxy for GDP and development, it can be said that the divergence between North and South originated in the post-1450 era during the recovery from the Black death. The insights offered by urbanization rates (indicator for productivity in the agricultural sector) point to the same key period (see table, p.305).

picture-8

Sources of divergence

The Black Death has had a crucial role in the rise of the European Marriage Pattern, i.e. a shift from higher mortality or ‘positive checks’ to lower mortality or ‘preventive checks’ that allowed part of Europe to escape the Malthusian trap (p.306). It seems that Northwestern Europe may have more benefited from this change than the South. Importantly, these evolution also point to differences in institutions and certainly a greater institutional flexibility in the NW (p.308).

Following Brenner, Pamuk also point out that the agrarian strife that followed the Black Death led to the end of the manorial economy in the West but also to the second serfdom in Eastern Europe. An important source of divergence (p.309).

The betterment of the journeymen position due to lack of labour, forced the urban guilds to evolve toward a greater flexibility: more open apprenticeship and labour-saving innovation (such as the printing press). These change ought to have affected NW industries more than those of the South since at that time the Dutch and English productions started to outstrip the Mediterranean ones (p.310). This Northern specificity favoured their evolution toward capital-intensive modes of production (p.311).

References

ALLEN, R. C. (2001). The Great Divergence in European wages and prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War. Explorations in Economic History 38, pp. 411–47.
ALLEN, R. C. (2003). Progress and poverty in early modern Europe. Economic History Review 61, no. 3, pp. 403–43.
ALLOUCHE, A. (1994). Mamluk Economics: A Study and Translation of Al-Maqr izi’s Iqhathah. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
ASHTOR, E. (1969). Histoire des prix et des salaires dans l’Orient médiéval. Paris: SEVPEN.
ASHTOR, E. (1976). A Social and Economic History of the Near East in the Middle Ages. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
BAILEY, M. (1996). Demographic decline in late medieval England: some thoughts on recent research. Economic History Review 49, 1–19.
BORSCH, S. J. (2005). The Black Death in Egypt and England. Austin: University of Texas Press.
BRENNER, R. (1976). Agrarian class structure and economic development in pre-industrial Europe. Past and Present 70, pp. 30–75.
CLARK, G. (2005). The condition of the working-class in England, 1200–2000: Magna Carta to Tony Blair. The Journal of Political Economy 113.
COLE, A. and CRANDALL, R. (1964). The International Scientific Committee on Price History. Journal of Economic History 24, pp. 381–8.
CRAFTS, N. F. R. (1983). British economic growth, a review of the evidence. Economic History Review 36, pp. 177–99.
DE MOOR, T. and VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (2005). The European marriage pattern (EMP) and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period. Paper presented at the conference, ‘The rise, organization and institutional framework in factor markets’, Utrecht.
DE VRIES, J. (1993). Between purchasing power and the world of goods: understanding the household economy in early modern Europe. In J. Brewer and R. Por ter (eds.), Consumption and the World of Goods. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 85–132.
DE VRIES, J. (1994). The industrial revolution and the industrious revolution. The Journal of Economic History, pp. 249–70.
DE VRIES, J. and VAN DER WOODE, A. (1997). The First Modern Economy: Success, Failure and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500–1815. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
DOLS, M. (1977). The Black Death in the Middle East. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
EPSTEIN, S. R. (1998). Craft guilds, apprenticeship and technological change in pre-industrial Europe. The Journal of Economic History 58, 684–713.
EPSTEIN, S. R. (2000). Freedom and Growth: The Rise of States and Markets in Europe, 1300–1750. London: Routledge.
FEDERICO, G. and MALANIMA, P. (2004). Progress, decline, growth: product and productivity in Italian agriculture, 1000–2000. Economic History Review 57, pp. 436–64.
FINDLAY, R. and LUNDAHL, M. (2002). Towards a factor proportions approach to economic history: population, precious metals and prices from the Black Death to the price revolution. In R. Findlay, L. Jonung and M. Lundahl (eds.), Bertil Ohlin: A Centennial Celebration. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002, pp. 495–528.
GOLDBERG, P. J. P. (1992). Women, Work and Life-Cycle in a Medieval Economy: Women and Work in York and Yorkshire, 1350–1520. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
HAJNAL, J. (1965). European marriage patterns in perspective. In D. Glass and D. Eversley (eds.), Population in History: Essays in Historical Demography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 101–43.
HANAWALT, B. A. (ed.) (1968). Women and Work in Pre-Industrial Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
HANNA, N. (1984). Construction work in Ottoman Cairo, 1517–1798. Supplement aux Annales Islamologiques, cahiers no. 4, Cairo.
HERLIHY, D. (1997). The Black Death and the Transformation of the West. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
HERLIHY, D. and KLAPISCH-ZUBER, C. (1985). Tuscans and Their Families: A Study of the Florentine Catasto of 1427. New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press.
HOFFMAN, P., JACKS, D., LEVIN, P. A. and LINDERT, P. H. (2000). Prices and real inequality in Europe since 1500. Agricultural History Center, University of California, Davis, Working Paper Series, no. 102.
HOMER, S. and SYLLA, R. (1969). A History of Interest Rates. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
HOWELL, M. C. (1986). Women, Production and Patriarchy in Medieval Cities. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
ISSAWI, C. (1980). Europe, the Middle East and the shift in power: reflections on a theme by Marshall Hodgson. Comparative Studies in Society and History 22, pp. 487–504.
KAZHDAN, A. (1995). The Italian and late Byzantine city. Dumberton Oaks Papers, vol. 49. Symposium on Byzantium and the Italians, 13th–15th Centuries, 1–22.
KELLY, J. (2005). The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. New York: HarperCollins.
KUZNETS, S. (1966). Modern Economic Growth. New Haven: Yale University Press.
LIVI-BACCI, M. (1997). A Concise Histor y of World Population. 2nd edn. Oxford: Blackwell.
LIVI-BACCI, M. (2000) The Population of Europe. Oxford: Blackwell.
LOPEZ, R., MISKIMIN, H. and UDOVITCH, A. (1970). England to Egypt, 1350–1500: long-term trends and long-distance trade. In M. A. Cook (ed.), Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East. London: Oxford University Press, pp. 93–128.
MADDISON, A. (2001). The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. Paris: OECD Development Centre.
MADDISON, A. (2003). The World Economy: Historical Statistics. Paris: OECD Development Centre.
MALANIMA, P. (2005). Urbanisation and the Italian economy during the last millennium. European Review of Economic History 9, pp. 97–122.
MCCLOSKEY, D. M. and NASH, J. (1984). Corn at interest: the extent and cost of grain storage in medieval England. American Economic Review 74, pp. 174–87.
MOKYR, J. (1990). The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
MORRISON, C. and CHEYNET, J.-C. (2002). Prices and wages in the Byzantine world. In A. E. Laiou (ed.), The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century, Washington, DC: Dumbar ton Oaks Research Library, pp. 815–78.
MUNRO, J. (2003). Wage stickiness, monetary changes and real balances in late-medieval England and the Low Countries, 1300–1470: did money really matter? Research in Economic History 21, 185–297.
MUNRO, J. (2006). Real wages and the Malthusian problem in Antwerp and south-eastern England, 1400–1700: a regional comparison of levels and trends in real wages for building craftsmen. University of Toronto, Department of Economics, Working Paper, no. 27.
MUSALLAM, B. (1983). Sex and Society in Islam: Birth Control before the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
NORTH, D. C. and THOMAS, P. R. (1973). The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
OZMUCUR, S. and PAMUK, S¸. (2002). Real wages and standards of living in the Ottoman empire, 1489–1914. The Journal of Economic History 62, pp. 292–321.
PAMUK, S¸ . (2005). Urban real wages around the eastern Mediterranean in comparative perspective, 1100–2000. Research in Economic History 23, pp. 213–32.
PERSSON, K. G. (1988). Pre-Industrial Growth, Social Organization and Technological Progress in Europe. Oxford and New York: Blackwell.
POOS, L. R. (1991). A Rural Society after the Black Death: Essex, 1350–1525. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
POOS, L. R. (1989). The historical demography of Renaissance Europe, recent research and current issues. Renaissance Quarterly 42, pp. 794–811.
RAPOPORT, Y. (2005). Marriage, Money and Divorce in Medieval Islamic Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
RAYMOND, A. (1973–4). Artisans et commerçants au Caire au XVIIIe sièecle. 2 vols. Damascus: Institut Français de Damas.
SABRA, A. (2000). Poverty and Char ity in Medieval Islam, Mamluk Egypt, 1250–1517. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
SCHAMILOGLU, U. (2004). The rise of the Ottoman empire: the Black Death in medieval Anatolia and its impact on Turkish civilization. In N. Yavari, L. G. Potter and J.-M. van Oppenheim (eds.), Views from the Edge: Essays in Honor of Richard W. Bulliet. New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 255–79.
SPUFFORD, P. (1988), Money and Its Use in Medieval Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
VAN BAVEL, B. J. P. (2002). People and land: rural population developments and property structures in the Low Countries, c. 1300–c. 1600. Continuity and Change 17, pp. 9–37.
VAN BAVEL, B. J. P. and VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (2004). The jump-star t of the Holland economy during the late-medieval crisis, c. 1350–c. 1500. Economic History Review 57, pp. 503–32.
VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (1999). Wages and the standards of living in Europe, 1500–1800. European Review of Economic History 2, pp. 175–95.
VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (2001). A survey of the European economy, 1500–1800. In M. Prak (ed.), Early Moder n Capitalism: Economic and Social Change in Europe, 1400–1800. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 69–87.
VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (2002). The ‘revolt of the early modernists’ and the ‘first modern economy’: an assessment. The Economic History Review 55, pp. 619–41.
VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (2004). The European skill premium in international comparative perspective, 1200–1950. Paper presented at the conference, ‘Towards a global history of prices and wages’, Utrecht.
VAN ZANDEN, J. L. (2005). Unpublished series on prices and wages of construction workers in Holland, 1344 to 1500.
WRIGLEY, E. A. and SCHOFIELD, R. S. (1981). The Population of England, 1541–1871: A Reconstruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

About these ads

One Response to Pamuk, S. (2007) The Great European Divergence

  1. Dave Parker says:

    The wage series suggests to me that the divergence originated in the century before rather than after 1450: the urbanisation series similarly shows most divergence in the 14th and 17th centuries (even correcting for what looks like an error in the last column), with little relative change in the 15th-16th. Pamuk’s certainly right to look for its rise in these centuries rather than the era of industrialisation: the question now is, how much did its origins predate even the 14th-century crisis?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers

%d bloggers like this: