School of Economics

2012 Discussion Papers


School of Economics Discussion Paper 12/03

January 2012


British Economic Growth, 1270-1870:

an output-based approach

Stephen Broadberry, London School of Economics
Bruce Campbell, Queen's University Belfast
Alexander Klein, University of Kent
Mark Overton, University of Exeter
Bas van Leeuwen, University of Warwick



This paper reconstructs GDP from the output side for medieval and early modern Britain. In contrast to the long run stagnation of living standards suggested by daily real wage rates, output-based GDP per capita exhibits modest but positive trend growth. One way of reconciling the two series is through variation in the annual number of days worked, but there are also reasons to doubt the representativeness of the sharp rise and fall of daily real wage rates in the late middle ages, which creates the impression of no trend improvement of living standards.


JEL Classification: O11; O40; E01


Keywords: Economic Development; Economic Growth; National Income


To download the file in PDF format click here.


School of Economics, Keynes College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP

Undergraduate enquiries: +44 (0) 1227 827497, Postgraduate enquiries: +44 (0) 1227 827440 or email us

Last Updated: 12/03/2015