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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)