The colonial origins of the Divergence in the Americas: A labor market approach

Robert C. Allen, Tommy E. Murphy, Eric B. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article introduces the Americas in the Great Divergence debate by measuring real wages in various North and South American cities between colonization and independence, and comparing them to Europe and Asia. We find that for much of the period, North America was the most prosperous region of the world, while Latin America was much poorer. We then discuss a series of hypotheses that can explain these results, including migration, the demography of the American Indian populations, and the various labor systems implemented in the continent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-894
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume72
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

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