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Mercantilist inequality: wealth and poverty in Stockholm, 1650-1750

Bengtsson, Erik and Olsson, Mats and Svensson, Patrick (2021). Mercantilist inequality: wealth and poverty in Stockholm, 1650-1750. Economic History Review. 75 :1 , 157-180
[Research article]

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This article describes and analyses social structure, poverty, wealth, and economic inequality in Stockholm from 1650 to 1750. We begin by establishing the social structure, using census data and other sources. To study wealth and poverty, the main sources are a complete record of the wealth tax of 1715, comprising 17,782 taxpayers, and a total of 1,125 probate inventories sampled from the years 1650, 1700, and 1750. These provide detailed and sometimes surprising insights into the living standards of both the poor and the rich. Stockholm in this period was a starkly unequal city, with the top decile of wealth holders owning about 90 per cent of total wealth. We relate this inequality to mercantilist policies. The city was run as an oligarchy and the oligarchical political institutions engendered policies that were rigged for inequality. The case of Stockholm thus shows the need for the historical inequality literature to consider class and power relations to understand the determinants of inequality.

Authors/Creators:Bengtsson, Erik and Olsson, Mats and Svensson, Patrick
Title:Mercantilist inequality: wealth and poverty in Stockholm, 1650-1750
Series Name/Journal:Economic History Review
Year of publishing :2021
Page range:157-180
Number of Pages:24
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 502 Economics and Business > Economic History
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000651541400001
ID Code:26737
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:17 Jan 2022 13:25
Metadata Last Modified:17 Jan 2022 13:31

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