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    The rise of the parish welfare state in England, c.1600-1800

    Waddell, Brodie (2021) The rise of the parish welfare state in England, c.1600-1800. Past & Present 253 (1), pp. 151-194. ISSN 0031-2746.

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    Waddell - The Rise of the Parish Welfare State in England (submitted 16-04-20).pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript
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    The world’s first nation-wide, publicly-funded welfare system emerged and solidified in England over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its influence on society and economy in this period was profound, but this article is the first attempt to determine the scale of its impact by examining the amount of money annually spent on relief across the whole period. Drawing on data from 184 widely dispersed parishes over more than two centuries and a new estimate for spending in c.1600, it shows that poor relief experienced alternating phases of rapid expansion, relative stability and occasionally outright retrenchment. Levels of redistribution were pushed higher by both ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ factors. Specifically, trends in relief spending are compared to other indices such as population, economic expansion, central government revenues, labourers’ wages and inflation to show how the growth of poor relief related to wider demographic and economic changes. Such comparisons make it possible to think more clearly about causation: how much of the growth in spending can be attributed to such developments? While law, demography, inflation and other well-attested factors certainly contributed to the rise of this early modern welfare system, the poor themselves may well have played an important role.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication following peer review. The version of record is available online at the link above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Brodie Waddell
    Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2021 11:15
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:06


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