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Between Malthus and the industrial take‐off: regional inequality in Sweden, 1571–1850

Enflo, Kerstin LU and Missiaia, Anna LU (2019) In Economic History Review
Abstract
he causes and extent of regional inequality in the process of economic growth are at the core of historical economic research. So far, much attention has been devoted to studying the role of industrialization in driving regional divergence. However, empirical studies on relatively unequal countries such as Italy and Spain show that inequality was already high at the outset of modern industrialization. Using new estimates of Swedish regional GDP, this article looks for the first time at regional inequality in a pre‐industrial European economy. Its findings show that inequality increased dramatically between 1571 and 1750 and stayed high until the mid‐nineteenth century. This result refutes the classical view that the industrial take‐off was... (More)
he causes and extent of regional inequality in the process of economic growth are at the core of historical economic research. So far, much attention has been devoted to studying the role of industrialization in driving regional divergence. However, empirical studies on relatively unequal countries such as Italy and Spain show that inequality was already high at the outset of modern industrialization. Using new estimates of Swedish regional GDP, this article looks for the first time at regional inequality in a pre‐industrial European economy. Its findings show that inequality increased dramatically between 1571 and 1750 and stayed high until the mid‐nineteenth century. This result refutes the classical view that the industrial take‐off was the main driver of regional divergence. Decomposing the Theil index for GDP per worker, we find that the bulk of inequality from 1750 onwards was driven by structural differences across sectors rather than different regional productivity within sectors. We show that counties with higher agricultural productivity followed a classic Malthusian pattern when experiencing technological advancement, while those with higher industrial productivity did not. We suggest that institutional factors, such as the creation of the Swedish Empire, Stockholm's trading rights, and a protective industrial policy, amplified this exceptional pattern. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
in
Economic History Review
pages
24 pages
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85073954557
ISSN
1468-0289
DOI
10.1111/ehr.12910
project
The evolution regional economies in the Nordic region – A long run approach
Trade, market and regional development in pre-industrial Sweden (1750-1850)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f5bd19f1-5b02-4009-a271-a99f32228fdf
date added to LUP
2019-09-23 09:33:33
date last changed
2019-11-13 05:41:15
@article{f5bd19f1-5b02-4009-a271-a99f32228fdf,
  abstract     = {he causes and extent of regional inequality in the process of economic growth are at the core of historical economic research. So far, much attention has been devoted to studying the role of industrialization in driving regional divergence. However, empirical studies on relatively unequal countries such as Italy and Spain show that inequality was already high at the outset of modern industrialization. Using new estimates of Swedish regional GDP, this article looks for the first time at regional inequality in a pre‐industrial European economy. Its findings show that inequality increased dramatically between 1571 and 1750 and stayed high until the mid‐nineteenth century. This result refutes the classical view that the industrial take‐off was the main driver of regional divergence. Decomposing the Theil index for GDP per worker, we find that the bulk of inequality from 1750 onwards was driven by structural differences across sectors rather than different regional productivity within sectors. We show that counties with higher agricultural productivity followed a classic Malthusian pattern when experiencing technological advancement, while those with higher industrial productivity did not. We suggest that institutional factors, such as the creation of the Swedish Empire, Stockholm's trading rights, and a protective industrial policy, amplified this exceptional pattern.},
  author       = {Enflo, Kerstin and Missiaia, Anna},
  issn         = {1468-0289},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Economic History Review},
  title        = {Between Malthus and the industrial take‐off: regional inequality in Sweden, 1571–1850},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12910},
  doi          = {10.1111/ehr.12910},
  year         = {2019},
}