Professor Gregory Clark                                                                                                                                                  Fall 2013

1137 Social Science and Humanities                                                                                                                                 M, W 8:00-9:30                                                                                                                                                          Wellman 235                      

Office Hours:    M, W 1:00-2:30




            Economics 210A covers World Economic History from the Stone Age to the twentieth century.   The big issues we examine are the long persistence of the Malthusian economy to around 1800, the Industrial Revolution, and the subsequent Great Divergence in world incomes per capita.




There will be a final exam, Friday, Dec. 13, 10:30-12:30.  The grade will be 70% for the final, and 30% for a research report. 




The background text for this course is my book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton University Press, 2007).  This is available from the bookstore, or more cheaply from Amazon.  My web site has links to a bunch of reviews of the book, with some responses by me.


This book is written at a fairly intuitive level.  The syllabus below thus lists more technical readings also on each topic.  Required readings are indicated with a *.  The material is available online though links on the syllabus to either JSTOR or to PDF versions of the articles. 








I  The Malthusian Economy – the world till 1800


1.  The Logic of the Malthusian Model


*FTA, Chapters 1-2.

*Symposium on A Farewell to Alms, European Review of Economic History, August 2008.

*Exchange with Bryan Caplan


Maddison, Angus. 2007.  Contours of the World Economy, 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History. 

Clark, Gregory.  2009.  Review Essay: Angus Maddison, Contours of the World Economy, 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History.”  JEH, 2009.

Malthus, Thomas Robert.  1830.  A Summary View of the Principle of Population.  Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: Penguin Books, 1970.



2.  Testing the Malthusian Model – Material Living Standards


*FTA, Chapter 3


Allen, Robert C.  2001.  “The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War.”  Explorations in Economic History, 38(4): 411-448.

Bassino, Jean-Pascal and Debin Ma.  2005.  “Japanese Wages in International Perspective, 1741-1913.”  Research in Economic History, 23: 229-48.

*Gregory Clark, “The Long March of History: Farm Wages, Population and Economic Growth, England 1209-1869,” Economic History Review, 2007.

*Gregory Clark, “The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2004Journal of Political Economy, 113(6) (December, 2005): 1307-1340.

Voth, Hans-Joachim.  2001.  “The Longest Years: New Estimates of Labor Input in England, 1760-1830.”  Journal of Economic History, 61(4): 1065-82.



3.  Malthus versus "the Revolt of the Early Modernists": European growth 1200-1800


Broadberry et al.,  2010.  British Economic Growth, 1270-1870.”

*De Vries, Jan  1994.  “The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious RevolutionJEH, 249-70.

De Vries, Jan.  2008.  The Industrious Revolution.

*Clark, Gregory and Ysbrand van der Werf.  1999.  “Work in Progress.  The Industrious Revolution?” JEH, 830-843.

Clark, Gregory.  2010.  “1381 and the Malthusian Delusion.”  EEH, forthcoming, 2013

Clark, Gregory, Joseph Cummins, and Brock Smith.  2010.  “Malthus, Wages, and Pre-Industrial Growth” JEH 2012

Clark, Gregory. 2010.  “The Consumer Revolution: Turning Point in Human History, or Statistical Artifact?”

Clark, Gregory.  2011.  “Major Growth or Malthusian Stagnation?  Farming in England 1209-1869”

4.  Testing the Malthusian Model – Fertility and Mortality


*FTA, Chapters 4-5


*Weisdorf, Jacob and Marc Klemp.  2012.   The Lasting Damage to Mortality of Early-Life Adversity: Evidence from England's Famine of the Late 1720's  European Review of Economic History.

Jones, Larry E. and Michele Tertilt. 2006. “An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960.”  NBER, Working Paper #12796.

Macfarlane, Alan.  2003.  The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wrigley, E. A., R. S. Davies, J. E. Oeppen, and R. S. Schofield.  1997.  English Population History from Family Reconstruction: 1580-1837Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lee, James Z. and Wang Feng.  1999.  One Quarter of Humanity: Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities, 1700-2000Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.


5.  Survival of the Richest


*FTA, Chapter 6


*Chagnon, Napoleon.  1988.  "Life Histories, Blood Revenge, and Warfare in a Tribal Population," Science 239:985-92. 

*Gregory Clark and Gillian Hamilton.  2006  Survival of the Richest.  The Malthusian Mechanism in Pre-Industrial England.” JEH, 66(3).

*Weisdorf, Jacob, Nina Boberg-Fazlic, and Paul Sharp.  2011.  Survival of the Richest? Social Status, Fertility, and Social Mobility in England 1541-1824European Review of Economic History, 15:3: 365-392.

*Song, Xi, Cameron D. Campbell, and James Z. Lee.  2013.  Ancestry Matters: Descent Line Growth and Extinction.” Tables

Carol Shiue.  2008.  Human Capital and Fertility in Chinese Clans.

Diego Comin, William Easterly, Erick Gong.  2008.   Was the Wealth of Nations Determined in 1000 BC?



6.  Economic Change Within the Malthusian Era


*FTA, Chapters 7


Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches (1990)

Kremer, Michael. 1993. “Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108 : 681-716.



7.  Institutions and Economic Growth


*FTA, Chapter 8.           

 *Bill Easterly.  2008.  Institutions, Top Down or Bottom Up?  AER, May.


(1)  *North, Douglass and R. P. Thomas. 1973.  The Rise of the Western World, 1-8.

*Clark, Gregory.  1998.  “Commons Sense: Property Rights, Efficiency and Institutional Change,” JEH, 1998.

Kantor, Shawn.  1990.  "Razorbacks, Ticky Cows, and the Closing of the Georgia Open Range: The Dynamics of Institutional Change Uncovered," JEH, v. 51, n. 4, (Dec): 861-86


(2)*North, Douglass and Barry Weingast (1989), "Constitutions and Commitment," JEH, pp. 803-832.

*Clark, Gregory.  1996.  “The Political Foundations of Modern Economic Growth: England, 1540-1800,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 26 (Spring).

*Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James A. Robinson.  2005.  “Institutions as the fundamental cause of long-run growth.”  In Philippe Aghion and Steve Durlauf (eds.), Handbook of Economic Growth, 385-471.

*Acemoglu, Daron, James A. Robinson and Simon Johnson.  2001.  “The Colonial Origins of Comparative Economic Development: An Empirical Investigation,” American Economic Review, 91: 1369-1401.

*Acemoglu, Daron, James A. Robinson and Simon Johnson.  2002.  “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117: 1231-1294.

Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson. 2005. “The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change and Economic Growth.” AER

 *Clark, Gregory.  2007. “A Review of Avner Greif’s, Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy.” Journal of Economic Literature.

*Greif, Avner, Paul Milgrom, and Barry Weingast. 1994. “Coordination, Commitment and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild.” Journal of Political Economy 102 : 745-776.




8.  The Emergence of Modern Man


*FTA, Chapter 9


*van Zanden, Jan Luiten.  2009.   The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution.  Chapters 1, 5.

Crosby, Alfred W.  The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600.

Galor, Oded and Omer Moav.  2002.  “Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth.”  Quarterly Journal of Economics.

*Rogers, Alan R.  1994.  “Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection,” American Economic Review, 84(3): 460-81.

Voth, Joaquim.  Time and Work in England, 1750-1830.





 II  The Industrial Revolution


1.  Modern Economic Growth


*FTA, Chapter 10


Easterlin, Richard.  1981.  "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?" JEH, 1-21.

*Lucas, Robert.  1993.  "Making a Miracle," Econometrica, 61(2), 251-272.

*Delong, Brad and Larry Summers.  1991.  "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," QJE, 445-502.

Barro, Robert  1991.  "Economic Growth in a Cross-Section of  Countries," QJE, 407-444.




2.  The Transition Between Regimes - Theory


*FTA, Chapter 11


*Becker, Gary, Kevin Murphy, and Robert Tamura.  1990.  “Human Capital, Fertility and Economic Growth.”  JPE, 98: S12-37.

*Clark, Gregory.  2014.  “The Industrial Revolution.” Handbook of Economic Growth.

*Galor, Oded and David N. Weil.  2000.  “Population, Technology and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond.”  AER, 90: 806-828.

*Kremer, Michael.  1993.  “Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B. C. to 1990.” QJE, 681-716.

*Allen, Robert.  2009.  The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India.”  JEH.



Jones, Charles I.  1999.  “Was the Industrial Revolution Inevitable?  Economic Growth over the Very Long Run.”  Working Paper #7375, NBER.

Jones, Rhys.  1977.  “The Tasmanian Paradox.”  In R. V. S. Wright (ed.), Stone Tools as Cultural Markers, Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Jones, Rhys.  1978.  “Why Did the Tasmanians Stop Eating Fish?”  In R. A. Gould (ed.), Explorations in EthnoarchaeologySanta Fe:-------

Lucas, Robert E.  2002.   “The Industrial Revolution: Past and Future.” In Robert E. Lucas, Lectures on Economic GrowthCambridge: Harvard University Press.

*North, Douglass and Barry Weingast.  1989.  "Constitutions and Commitment," JEH, pp. 803-832.




3.  The Transition Between Regimes - Facts


*FTA, Chapter 12-13


*Mokyr, Joel. 1999, "Introduction" in Joel Mokyr (ed.), The Industrial Revolution: An Economic Analysis.

*McCloskey, Donald.  1981.  “1780-1860: A Survey.”  in Floud, R. and D. N. McCloskey (1981), The Economic History of  Britain since 1700, Vol. I, 103-127.

McCloskey, Donald. 1994.  "1780-1860: A Survey” in Floud, R. and D. N. McCloskey (1994), The Economic History of  Britain since 1700 (2 nd ed), Vol. I, 242-270.

*Temin, Peter.  1997.  “Two Views of the British Industrial RevolutionJEH, 63-82.

 *Clark, Gregory.  2007.   What Made Britannia Great?

*Clark, Gregory and Neil Cummins.  2008.  Malthus to Modernity: Income, Fertility and Economic Growth in England, 1500-1914.


4.  The Social Consequences of the Industrial Revolution


*FTA, chapter 14 


Allen, Robert C.  2009.  Engels’ pause: Technical change, capital accumulation, and inequality in the British Industrial Revolution.”  EEH

*Lindert, Peter.  2004.  Growing Public: Social Spending and Economic Growth since the Eighteenth Century, pp. 3-38, 227-263.

Goldin, Claudia and Larry Katz.  2008.  The Race between Education and Technology

Waldenström, Daniel, Jesper Roine and Jonas Vlachos.  2009  "The Long-Run Determinants of Inequality: What Can We Learn from Top Income Data?", Journal of Public Economics

Clark, Gregory and Marianne Page.  2008.  Welfare Reform, 1834

Van Zanden, Jan Luiten.  2004.   “The Skill Premium and the Great Divergence.”  Working Paper, University of Utrecht.




5.  Social Mobility


*Clark, Gregory, Neil Cummins et al.  2014.  The Son also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility.  Princeton: Princeton University Press.  Chapters 1-2, 6-7, 15.

*Clark, Gregory.  2012.  “Social Mobility in Sweden, 1670-2012.  A Surname Study.”

*Clark, Gregory and Neil Cummins.  2012.  What is the True Rate of Social Mobility?  Surnames and Social Mobility in England, 1800-2011 

*Becker, Gary and Nigel Tomes.  1986.  Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families.”  Journal of Labor Economics, 4(3): S1-S39.

*Bowles, S. and H. Gintis. 2002. “The Inheritance of InequalityJournal of Economic Perspectives. Volume 16, Number 3, 1 August 2002, pp. 3-30(28)

Galton, Francis  1886.  "Regression Towards Mediocrity in Hereditary Stature". Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain, 15: 246–263.


III  The Great Divergence


1.  The Spread of the Industrial Revolution


*FTA, chapters 15-18


Haber, Stephen. 1989.  Industry and Underdevelopment: The Industrialization of Mexico, 1890-1940. Chs 2,3

*Clark, Gregory. 1987.  "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed?  Lessons from the Cotton Mills,"  JEH, 141-174.

*Clark, Gregory.  2009.  Manufacturing Growth: What is the path to prosperity in Africa?

*Wolcott, Susan and Gregory Clark. 1999.  "Why Nations Fail: Managerial Decisions and Performance in Indian Cotton Textiles, 1890-1938."  JEH.

*Peter Zeitz (2011) "Do Local Institutions Affect All Foreign Direct Investors in the Same Way? Evidence from the Interwar Chinese Textile Industry"

Allen, Robert C.  2011.  Technology and the great divergence: Global economic development since 1820  EEH.


William Easterly.  2001.  The Elusive Quest For Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics.

Kremer, Michael.  1993a.  “The O-Ring Theory of Development,” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 108(3): 551-75.

Sachs, Jeffrey D. 2003. “Institutions Don't Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income.” NBER Working Paper No. 9490.