Journal article

Living costs, real incomes and inequality in colonial Jamaica

T Burnard, L Panza, J Williamson

Explorations in Economic History | Elsevier | Published : 2019


This paper provides the first quantitative assessment of colonial Jamaican real incomes and income inequality. We collect local prices to construct cost of living and purchasing power parity indicators. The latter lowers Jamaica's GDP per capita compared with the rest of the Atlantic economy. We also compute welfare ratios for a range of occupations and build a social table. We find that, being a net food importer, the slave colony had extremely high living costs, which rose steeply during the American War of Independence, and low standards of living, particularly for its enslaved population, but also for the free unskilled population that competed with slave labor. Our results also show tha..

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University of Melbourne Researchers