Inequality, Taxation and Social Mobility in Pre-Industrial Germany 1300-1800



Mentor: Stephen Broadberry

My research investigates economic inequality in Germany from 1300 to 1800. The goal is to understand major changes in inequality over time. Economic growth, pandemics, revolts and state failure are all explanations for inequality. I show that the Black Death in 1350 and the Thirty Years’ War in 1618-48 led to a decline in inequality that cannot solely be explained by high mortality. In my proposed research I will go beyond such explanations and investigate economic institutions and state growth in greater detail. In particular, I want to investigate whether wealth differences in gender can explain inequality and economic growth. Similarly,

economic opportunities depend on the openness and fairness of political institutions which lends itself to analyzing the social (im)mobility in pre-industrial communities. Lastly, I focus on state building, by investigating why agricultural Prussia became the new hegemon, rather than the fiscally and economically advanced towns of south-west Germany.



The research project is funded under the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme