Prices, Food and Wages in Scotland, 1550-1780

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This is the first study of Scottish price history to be published, and a major contribution to the economic and social history of early modern and pre-industrial Britain. Using the remarkable series of <'fiars>' prices for grains and other contemporary sources, Gibson and Smout focus, in particular, on the prices of grain, meal and animal products, and assess how Scots labourers could survive in an economy that could pay only very low money wages. The authors show how the Scottish people experienced fluctuations in welfare both in the longer term from generation to generation, and within a given life-cycle. The Scottish records on prices and wages are a unique historical resource, to which Gibson and Smout have applied both traditional and quantitative historical techniques. In so doing they have produced a path- breaking contribution to the perennial debate on the standard of living of ordinary people prior to the onset of industrialisation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It is a joy and a delight to review a book that is so masterful in the treatment of its subject as to engage the reader directly and immediately by its arguments. This is the best book in price history I have ever opened....a model of its kind." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"A.J.S. Gibson and T.C. Smout's excellent, scholarly, well-written work....constitutes an important contribution to the history of business cycles....One of the best attributes of this book is that nearly every doubt or query that could conceivably occur to a reader is dispelled or answered." American Historical Review

"This book is undoubtedly a valuable addition to British economic and social history." Albion

"This volume provides an example of informative and well-informed data-gathering that should be a benefit and model to researchers. In this thorough work, Gibson and Smout have provided data components of the standard of living, discussed difficulties of interpretation, and created a model of extensive primary-source scholarship. This volume is a good starting point for exploring the regional variations about which they caution the reader; it is also a good source for those interested in examining the economic consequences of the Act of Union of 1707. It also lays an invaluable groundwork for examination of subsequent standard-of-living changes in Scotland during industrialization." Journal of Economic History

"A masterly scholarly study, this work will be a valuable source for the specialist scholar of Scottish society and early modern economic history....Excellent maps and diagrams." Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521037808
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/19/2007
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
List of abbreviations
A note on Scottish and English money
Map of Scottish counties and principal burghs
1 Introduction 1
2 The system of burgh price regulation 19
3 The system of county fairs 66
4 Press reports of monthly market prices 130
5 Trends and fluctuations in grain price movements 162
6 The price of animals and animal products 185
7 Food 225
8 Wages in money and kind 261
9 Real wages 337
Appendix I. Scottish weights and measures, 1580-1780 365
Appendix II. Accessing the data 376
Bibliography 377
Person index 388
Place index 389
Subject index 395
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