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Mercantilist Inequality : Wealth and Poverty in Stockholm 1650-1750

Bengtsson, Erik LU ; Olsson, Mats LU and Svensson, Patrick LU (2019) In Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues
Abstract
This paper maps social structure, poverty, wealth and economic inequality in Stockholm from 1650 to 1750. We begin by establishing the social structure, using census data and other sources. To study wealth and poverty, the main sources are a sample from the wealth tax of 1715, and probate inventory samples from 1650, 1700 and 1750. These provide detailed and sometimes surprising insights into the living standards of both the poor and rich. Stockholm in this period was a starkly unequal city, with the top decile of wealth holders owning about 90 per cent of total wealth. We argue that this inequality was the result of deliberate policy – the Mercantilist conviction of “just rewards” for each and every one according to his or her standing.... (More)
This paper maps social structure, poverty, wealth and economic inequality in Stockholm from 1650 to 1750. We begin by establishing the social structure, using census data and other sources. To study wealth and poverty, the main sources are a sample from the wealth tax of 1715, and probate inventory samples from 1650, 1700 and 1750. These provide detailed and sometimes surprising insights into the living standards of both the poor and rich. Stockholm in this period was a starkly unequal city, with the top decile of wealth holders owning about 90 per cent of total wealth. We argue that this inequality was the result of deliberate policy – the Mercantilist conviction of “just rewards” for each and every one according to his or her standing. The case of Stockholm shows the need for the historical inequality literature to consider class and power relations to understand the determinants of inequality. (Less)
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author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Working paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
wealth, inequality, social stratification, Sweden, Stockholm, probate inventories, D31, I31, N13, N33, P16
in
Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues
issue
2019:210
pages
33 pages
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b2b219cc-9c31-410d-b2c5-87e33e044510
date added to LUP
2019-12-13 09:57:51
date last changed
2019-12-13 10:07:41
@misc{b2b219cc-9c31-410d-b2c5-87e33e044510,
  abstract     = {This paper maps social structure, poverty, wealth and economic inequality in Stockholm from 1650 to 1750. We begin by establishing the social structure, using census data and other sources. To study wealth and poverty, the main sources are a sample from the wealth tax of 1715, and probate inventory samples from 1650, 1700 and 1750. These provide detailed and sometimes surprising insights into the living standards of both the poor and rich. Stockholm in this period was a starkly unequal city, with the top decile of wealth holders owning about 90 per cent of total wealth. We argue that this inequality was the result of deliberate policy – the Mercantilist conviction of “just rewards” for each and every one according to his or her standing. The case of Stockholm shows the need for the historical inequality literature to consider class and power relations to understand the determinants of inequality.},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Erik and Olsson, Mats and Svensson, Patrick},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {2019:210},
  series       = {Lund Papers in Economic History. General Issues},
  title        = {Mercantilist Inequality : Wealth and Poverty in Stockholm 1650-1750},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/73105567/LUPEH_210.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}