Standard of living

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Standard of living

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Mar 30, 2007, 6:18pm

Could anyone recommend economic, historical, or anthropological books on the standard of living over time? I'm interested in how much wealth people have had in different societies and times.

Mar 30, 2007, 7:24pm

I'm not sure what level you're aiming for, but Carlo M.Cipolla's The economic history of world population is one place to start.

Apr 1, 2007, 5:19pm

Thanks, I'll look into that one.

Edited: Apr 1, 2007, 6:01pm

Economist Brad De Long -- who - not entirely coincidentally - is also at Berkeley (as was Cipolla) -- has given some thought to this question.

(If this url doesn't break anything...), below is an html link to the Google cache of a .doc file of De Long's paper called "Estimates of World GDP, from 1 million BC - Present".

The short answer De Long gives is that "per capita GDP per human" was roughly $200 right up until the Middle Ages ($115 in constant 1990 dollars) - mostly as 1500-2000 calories of food per person per day.