According to Allen, between 1500 and 1750, a “great divergence” among countries in the level of wages occurred in Europe. Italian real wages were already among the lowest in the late medieval and early modern age. Their relative level diminished even more from the seventeenth century. An analysis of prices and wages in Italy and England does not support this view. Actually, until the beginning of the eighteenth century, Italian real wages were either higher than in England (fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) or more or less equal (sixteenth and seventeenth). It was not until the eighteenth century that England began to overtake Italy. However, the disparity in wages before 1800 was modest. It increased fast from then onwards.
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