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Living Standards in the PastNew Perspectives on Well-Being in Asia and Europe$
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Robert C. Allen, Tommy Bengtsson, and Martin Dribe

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280681

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199280681.001.0001

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Farm Labour Productivity in Jiangnan, 1620–1850

Farm Labour Productivity in Jiangnan, 1620–1850

(p.55) 2 Farm Labour Productivity in Jiangnan, 1620–1850
Living Standards in the Past

Bozhong Li

Oxford University Press

Contrary to the conventional view, labour productivity on farms in Jiangnan, the Yangzi Delta in East China, did not deteriorate or stagnate but instead improved between 1620 and 1850. Changes in the factors of major production of farming and in the peasant economy both contributed to the improvement and this development resulted in a rising standard of living of peasants. Neither an old, misleading Malthusian conception nor conventional wisdom on the standard of living, therefore, squares with what we know of Jiangnan history.

Keywords:   China, Jiangnan, labour productivity, peasant economy, standard of living

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