Long‐term trends in economic inequality: the case of the Florentine state, c. 1300–1800

Guido Alfani, Francesco Ammannati
Published Online:
16 Mar 2017
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 70 Issue 4

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This article provides an overview of economic inequality, particularly of wealth, in the Florentine state (Tuscany) from the early fourteenth to the late eighteenth century. Regional studies of this kind are rare, and this is only the second‐ever attempt at covering such a long period. Consistent with recent research conducted on other European areas, during the early modern period we find clear indications of a tendency for economic inequality to grow continually, a finding that for Tuscany cannot be explained as the consequence of economic growth. Furthermore, the exceptionally old sources we use allow us to demonstrate that a phase of declining inequality, lasting about one century, was triggered by the Black Death from 1348 to 1349. This finding challenges earlier scholarship and significantly alters our understanding of the economic consequences of the Black Death.

© 2018 The Authors. The Economic History Review published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Economic History Society.

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