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Prices, Wages and Economic Change. The Espacio Peruano Region, 1591-1790. por Eduardo Martín Cuesta, Ireneo Moras and Carlos Newland

Prices, Wages and Economic Change. The Espacio Peruano Region, 1591-1790. por Eduardo Martín Cuesta, Ireneo Moras and Carlos Newland

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Published by Carlos Newland
In this paper price series for the Espacio Peruano Region (today’s Bolivia, Chile and Peru) are elaborated covering the period 1591-1790. An index of relative prices is constructed that compares land intensive versus labour intensive products. These series allow testing (and confirming) the traditional vision presented by demographic historians, based on qualitative rather than quantitative data (since no general and comparable censuses exist for the region before the end of the 18th century). The price series, together with wage data, suggest that a rise in productivity took place during the 18th century, despite an important increase in population. A possible explanation of this phenomenon is that the increase in productivity was caused by a liberalization of labour markets, especially affecting the Indian population.
En este trabajo se elaboran series de precios correspondientes al Espacio Peruano (actuales Bolivia, Perú y Chile) que cubren el periodo 1591-1790. Con las series se elaboran índices de precios relativos de productos tierra intensivos respecto de precios de productos mano de obra intensivos. Dichas series posibilitan el testeo y corroboración de las afirmaciones tradicionales sobre historia demográfica de la región, que han sido más bien de índole cualitativa ya que no se poseen censos poblacionales comparables antes del siglo XVIII. Las series de precios elaboradas junto con información sobre salarios nominales durante el siglo XVIII, permiten concluir un proceso de aumento de la productividad que contrarrestó posibles tendencias malthusianas. Se especula que este aumento de la productividad se debió a una liberalización de la economía, en especial de la mano de obra indígena.
In this paper price series for the Espacio Peruano Region (today’s Bolivia, Chile and Peru) are elaborated covering the period 1591-1790. An index of relative prices is constructed that compares land intensive versus labour intensive products. These series allow testing (and confirming) the traditional vision presented by demographic historians, based on qualitative rather than quantitative data (since no general and comparable censuses exist for the region before the end of the 18th century). The price series, together with wage data, suggest that a rise in productivity took place during the 18th century, despite an important increase in population. A possible explanation of this phenomenon is that the increase in productivity was caused by a liberalization of labour markets, especially affecting the Indian population.
En este trabajo se elaboran series de precios correspondientes al Espacio Peruano (actuales Bolivia, Perú y Chile) que cubren el periodo 1591-1790. Con las series se elaboran índices de precios relativos de productos tierra intensivos respecto de precios de productos mano de obra intensivos. Dichas series posibilitan el testeo y corroboración de las afirmaciones tradicionales sobre historia demográfica de la región, que han sido más bien de índole cualitativa ya que no se poseen censos poblacionales comparables antes del siglo XVIII. Las series de precios elaboradas junto con información sobre salarios nominales durante el siglo XVIII, permiten concluir un proceso de aumento de la productividad que contrarrestó posibles tendencias malthusianas. Se especula que este aumento de la productividad se debió a una liberalización de la economía, en especial de la mano de obra indígena.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Carlos Newland on May 24, 2012
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1
 
Prices, Wages and Economic Change. The
 Espacio Peruano
Region, 1591-1790.
Artículo publicado en
 Anuario de Estudios Bolivianos, Archivísticos y Biliográficos
Nº 16(2010), pp. 311-325. Difundido con autorización de los editores.Eduardo Martín Cuesta, Ireneo Moras and Carlos NewlandAbstract: In this paper price series for the
 Espacio Peruano
Region (today’s Bolivia, Chileand Peru) are elaborated covering the period 1591-1790. An index of relative prices isconstructed that compares land intensive versus labour intensive products. These series allowtesting (and confirming) the traditional vision presented by demographic historians, based onqualitative rather than quantitative data (since no general and comparable censuses exist for the region before the end of the 18
th
century). The price series, together with wage data,suggest that a rise in productivity took place during the 18
th
century, despite an importantincrease in population. A possible explanation of this phenomenon is that the increase in productivity was caused by a liberalization of labour markets, especially affecting the Indian population.
Precios, Salarios y Cambio Económico. El Espacio Peruano, 1591-1790.
Eduardo Martín Cuesta, Ireneo Moras y Carlos NewlandResumen: En este trabajo se elaboran series de precios correspondientes al Espacio Peruano(actuales Bolivia, Perú y Chile) que cubren el periodo 1591-1790. Con las series se elaboraníndices de precios relativos de productos tierra intensivos respecto de precios de productosmano de obra intensivos. Dichas series posibilitan el testeo y corroboración de lasafirmaciones tradicionales sobre historia demográfica de la región, que han sido más bien deíndole cualitativa ya que no se poseen censos poblacionales comparables antes del sigloXVIII. Las series de precios elaboradas junto con información sobre salarios nominalesdurante el siglo XVIII, permiten concluir un proceso de aumento de la productividad quecontrarrestó posibles tendencias malthusianas. Se especula que este aumento de la productividad se debió a una liberalización de la economía, en especial de la mano de obraindígena.2
 
Prices, Wages and Economic Change. The
Espacio Peruano
Region, 1591-1790
Eduardo Martín Cuesta (CONICET), Ireneo Moras(UB and UCES) and Carlos Newland, (ESEADE)
The relationship between factor endowments, such as population, and relative priceshas been analyzed in classical works of economic history, since Adam Smith
1
. From the pointof view of economic theory relative prices are directly related to factors and the intensity of their use in production of various goods. Therefore, changes in the relative prices of differenttypes of goods are caused by fluctuations in population. In the classical studies on this subject by Phelps Brown and Hopkins
2
, prices and wages in England and Europe since the 13
th
areanalysed. They show how the fall in population provoked by the Black Death resulted in a
 
Carlos Newland began this work as fellow of the John Guggenheim Foundation. We aregrateful to Agustina Vence Conti for her help and to Peter Lindert and Hans Vogel for their comments.
1
See, for example, Newland, Carlos y Daniel Waissbein, “Una nota sobre Adam Smith,Ulloa y la economía de Buenos Aires”,
 Revista de Historia Económica
, año I, nº 1, (1984),161-167.
2
Sheila Hopkins & H. Phelps Brown, “Builders’ Wage-Rates, Prices and Population: SomeFurther Evidences”,
 Economica,
 News Series, vol. 23, no. 92 (1956), 296-314.3

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