Wealth and shifting demand pressures on the price level in England after the Black Death

Anthony Edo, Jacques Melitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


The scale of the rise in personal wealth following the Black Death calls the life-cycle hypothesis of consumption into consideration. Based on price level evidence, this paper shows for the first time that the wealth effect of the Black Death on economic activity continued in England for generations, up to 1450. Indeed, in the absence of consideration of the wealth effect, other influences on the price level do not even appear in the econometric analysis. The shift in tastes toward higher quality goods, luxuries and imports stemming from the per capita windfall for the survivors in the mid-fourteenth century plays a substantial part in the analysis. So does England’s little influence on the relative prices of its imports relative to home goods. The separate effects of coinage, population, trade, wages and annual number of days worked for wages on the price level all also receive major attention and new results follow for adjustment in the labor market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-124
Number of pages34
Issue number1
Early online date7 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Black Death
  • Fourteenth-century England
  • Great Famine
  • Price level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics


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