A review of gregory clark's a Farewell to Alms

A brief economic history of the world

Robert (Bob) Allen

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    A Farewell to Alms advances striking claims about the economic history of the world. These include (1) the preindustrial world was in a Malthusian preventive check equilibrium, (2) living standards were unchanging and above subsistence for the last 100,000 years, (3) bad institutions were not the cause of economic backwardness, (4) successful economic growth was due to the spread of "middle class" values from the elite to the rest of society for "biological" reasons, (5) workers were the big gainers in the British Industrial Revolution, and (6) the absence of middle class values, for biological reasons, explains why most of the world is poor. The empirical support for these claims is examined, and all are questionable.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)946-973
    Number of pages28
    JournalJournal of Economic Literature
    Volume46
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

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    Middle class
    Economic history
    Economics
    Subsistence
    Economic growth
    Standard of living
    Elites
    Workers
    Industrial revolution

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics

    Cite this

    A review of gregory clark's a Farewell to Alms : A brief economic history of the world. / Allen, Robert (Bob).

    In: Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 46, No. 4, 01.12.2008, p. 946-973.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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