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Erik Bengtsson . Foto

Erik Bengtsson

Universitetslektor

Erik Bengtsson . Foto

Aristocratic Wealth and Inequality in a Changing Society: Sweden, 1750–1900

Författare

  • Erik Bengtsson
  • Anna Missiaia
  • Mats Olsson
  • Patrick Svensson

Summary, in English

The role of the European nobility and their ability to retain their political and economic power are part of the debate on the modernization of Europe’s economy. This paper contributes to the literature by exploring the wealth of the Swedish nobility as the country evolved from an agrarian to an industrial economy. We use a sample of 200+ probate inventories of nobles for each of the benchmark years 1750, 1800, 1850 and 1900. We show that the nobility, less than 0.5 per cent of the population, was markedly dominant in 1750: the average noble was 60 times richer than the average person, and the nobles held 29 per cent of all private wealth. 90 per cent of the nobles were richer than the average person. By 1900 the advantage of the nobles’ wealth had declined; the group held only 5 per cent of total private wealth. At the same time, stratification within the nobility had increased dramatically. One group of super-rich Swedish nobles, often large land owners from the high nobility, possessed the biggest fortunes, but a large minority of nobles were no richer than the average Swede.

Avdelning/ar

  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Publiceringsår

2019

Språk

Engelska

Sidor

27-52

Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie

Scandinavian Journal of History

Volym

44

Issue

1

Dokumenttyp

Artikel i tidskrift

Förlag

Routledge

Ämne

  • Economic History

Nyckelord

  • Inequality
  • Wealth
  • Sweden
  • Nobility
  • Economic stratification
  • Social groups

Aktiv

Published

Projekt

  • Wages, economic performance and inequality. Scandinavia in the ‘Little Divergence’ in Europe

ISBN/ISSN/Övrigt

  • ISSN: 1502-7716