Wednesday 1 May 2019

Living standards across Britain: the 700-year view

Sometimes it’s good to step back from the short-term economic noise and take a long view – a very long view. Because while changes in living standards are driven by the economic cycle, and policy changes, they are also wider driven by wider economic shifts that play out over decades, rather than months and years.

What have been the big economic shifts over the last 700 years, and how have they fed through into living standards? How easy is it to capture these changes in real-time? And might we be living through an era of big structural economic change today?

To answer these big living standards questions, the Resolution Foundation held an event with the co-authors of a fascinating new book, Seven Centuries of Unreal Wages. Leading economic historians Judy Stephenson and John Hatcher gave an overview of their book’s findings, before taking part in an audience Q&A.


  • Judy Stephenson, Economic historian and lecturer in Economics and Finance of the Built Environment, UCL
  • John Hatcher, Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History, University of Cambridge
  • Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation (Chair)