Professor Gregory Clark                                                                                  Fall 2006

1137 Social Science and Humanities                                                               M, W 10:00-11:30

752-9242 (                                                                     Wellman 125

Office Hours: Mon 1-2, Th 1-3 & by appointment








            Economics 210A covers topics in World Economic History from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.   The three 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, in class, Saturday Dec 16, 1:30-3:30 pm.  The grade will be 60% for the final and 40% for a research project.  The research project will be determined in consultation with the instructor. 




            The background text for this course is a forthcoming book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World (Princeton University Press, 2007).  This is available from Navin’s Copy Shop, 231 3rd St  (price, including sales tax, $45).  It can also be downloaded from my web page, but since it is 450 pages long, that is a lot of printing!


            This text is written at a fairly intuitive level, and should be accessible to any intelligent person.  The syllabus below thus lists more technical readings also on each topic.  Required readings are indicated with a *.  The material will be available online though links on the syllabus at my web page at to either JSTOR or to PDF versions of the articles.  Those who would like some background reading should consult one or more of the following volumes.


            Carlo Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution (2 nd ed. 1980, 3 rd ed. 1993)

            David Landes, The Unbound Prometheus (1969)

            David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations (1999)

            Rondo Cameron,  A Concise Economic History of the World.

            Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches.

            Douglass North and Robert Thomas, The Rise of the Western World (1973)


            The following abbreviations are used for journals, working paper series


            AER    -           American Economic Review

            EEH   -           Explorations in Economic History

            EHR   -           Economic History Review

            JEH    -           Journal of Economic History

            JPE     -           Journal of Political Economy

            QJE     -           Quarterly Journal of Economics

            NBER -          National Bureau of Economic Research (








I  The Malthusian Economy – the world to 1800



1.  The Logic of the Malthusian Model



1.   Introduction, 1-13

2.   The Logic of the Malthusian Economy, 14-38


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



3.   Material Living Standards, 39-76


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 (forthcoming, 2006).

*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.  Testing the Malthusian Model – Fertility and Mortality



4.   Fertility, 77-98

            5.   Mortality,  99-130


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: 1580-1837.  Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

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




4.  Survival of the Richest



            6.  Malthus and Darwin: Survival of the Richest


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

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

Hadeishi, Hajime.  2003.  “Economic Well-Being and Fertility in France: Nuits, 1744-1792.”  JEH, 63(2): 489-505.




5.  Economic Change Within the Malthusian Era



7.  Technological Change

8.  Preference Changes



*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.

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

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

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

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



            9.  Modern Growth: The Wealth of Nations


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




            9.  The Problem of the Industrial Revolution


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

*Clark, Gregory.  2003.  The Great Escape: The Industrial Revolution in Theory and in History” (manuscript)

*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.

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 Ethnoarchaeology.  Santa Fe:-------

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

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




3.  The Transition Between Regimes - Facts



            11.  The Industrial Revolution in Britain, 1760-1860


*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?


4.  The Social Consequences of the Industrial Revolution



            12.  The Social Consequences of the Industrial Revolution


Clark, Gregory and Marianne Page.  2000.  Is There Profit in Reforming the Poor?  The English Poor Law, 1830-1842

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

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



5.  Institutions and Economic Growth – Institutions as Superstructure



7.  Technological Change


*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



6.  Institutions as Exogenous


*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.


III  The Great Divergence


1.  The Spread of the Industrial Revolution



13.       The Great Divergence – World Economic Growth since 1800

14.       The Proximate Sources of Divergence

15.       Why Isn’t the Whole World Developed?


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.

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

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.




Economic History Seminar – Fall, 2006


Tuesdays, 4.10-5.30, 5th floor conference room (5214 SSH).



THURSDAY, Sep 28 -- Albrehct Ritschl (Humboldt)


October 17th --  Christina Romer (Berkeley) -- "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes:  New Estimates Based on Policymakers' Motivation"


October 24th -- Tim Leunig (LSE) -- "Transport improvements, agglomeration economies and city productivity: did commuter trains raise nineteenth century British wages?"


October 31 -- open


November 7th -- Petra Moser (Stanford), "War and Discrimination: Evidence from Applications to the NYSE from 1883 to 1973."


November 14th* -- James Simpson (Carlos III) – TBA (Wine Trade)


November 21st* -- Alexander Klein (Warwick), "All in the Family: Rural-Urban Migration in Bohemia at the End of the Nineteenth Century"


November 28th* -- open


December 5th* -- Ewout Frankema (Groningen) -- TBA