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Prices and wages and the cost of living in the western part of the Netherlands, 1450-1800

About the datafile 'The prices of the most important consumer goods, and indices of wages and the cost of living in the western part of the Netherlands, 1450-1800'
Author: Jan Luiten van Zanden

The datafile: spreadsheet (.xls, 125 Kb) |   Appendix   |   Bibliography

The explanation of the way in which the data base 'prices and wages in the western part of the Netherlands' has been constructed is given in the section 'the data base' of a paper by Jan Luiten van Zanden:
What happened to the standard of living before the Industrial Revolution? New evidence from the western part of the Netherlands
which will be published in a volume edited by Bob Allen, Tommey Bengtson and Martin Dribe on this issue. The relevant sections are printed below.

The database

For the most important articles of consumption long series of institutional prices were collected, mainly from two sources, Posthumus' Inquiry into the History of Prices in Holland (1943/64) and a recently published data base of prices paid by the cloister of Leeuwenhorst between 1410 and 1570 (De Moor 2000), which fills some of the gaps left by Posthumus' work. All prices refer to prices paid by institutions (hospitals, chapters, orphanages), except for two special series: rye bread are based on the assize, and rents (see the appendix for details about the sources).

In the first generation CPI's the prices with the largest weight wheat or rye (or malt, oatmeal etc.). In Holland (especially in the cities) the making of bread was already concentrated in specialized bakeries during the 15th and 16th centuries, which meant that consumers did not buy grains but bread, of which the prices was set by the city. During the 17th century indirect taxation on milling increased sharply, which meant that the margin between the price of rye and of rye bread became much larger than it was in the early 16th century (before 1596 no good data on bread prices are available, unfortunately, but it may be assumed that both prices moved in a more or less identical way before that date) (see Van Schaïk 1999). During the 17th and 18th century bread prices increased much more than the price of rye (see table 2), and measuring real wages in terms of rye clearly gives a biased impression of their development.

Another major change is the inclusion of a series on rents, an item of expenditure which is missing in all first generation CPI's. On the basis of a vast data base of house owned by institutions and by the city, Lesger (1986) has constructed chain indices for the development of rents of houses in Amsterdam between 1550 and 1850. His method of constructing the indices have been criticized by Eichholtz and Theebe (1998, 1999), who state that a chain index does not reflect the housing market correctly, because rental contract were mostly concluded for periods longer than one year, and only in the years that a contract is renewed a new market valuation of the property occurred (whereas a chain index 'assumes' that in the intervening years the rent and therefore the market remains the same). They applied a more sophisticated method to construct what they called a repeated-rent index; from Lesger's data base of 48.620 yearly rent figures of properties, they only used the information which related to the renewal of contract periods, i.e. to actual changes in the observed rents. Using regression analysis they estimated on an annual basis the average change of these rents, and in this way created a repeated-rent index for the 1550-1850 period, which is also by its nature corrected for changes in the quality of the houses. It is possible to compare the long term changes in these series with the average rents of all houses in Holland in different periods (table 1). The comparison shows that in the very long run the different series developed in a similar way: a very strong increase of rents between the 1560s and 1630s, followed by a much more moderate increase in the next century, stagnation during the 18th century and even some decline between 1806/8 and 1816/26. The average rents per house rose, however, more than the repeated rent index, which may be an indication of changes in the quality of the housing stock. The differences between Lesger's chain index and Eichholtz and Theebe's repeated rent index appear to be rather small, but are nevertheless significant especially for the early period.

The very rapid increase in rent levels in the period after 1560 is confirmed by other data: in Alkmaar, of which we have a complete and consistent set of data for 1561 and 1632, average rents went up by 428% (Van de Berg en Van Zanden 1993). The decline of rents during the second half of the 18th century is corroborated by Pot's (1994) research into house rents in Leiden. He found a fall of about 5 to 10% between 1750 and 1808, which is consistent with Lesger's data. These data and the comparison made in table 1 also justifies, in my view, the use of the Amsterdam repeated rent series to estimate the development of rents in Holland.

Table 1
A comparison between the development of rent levels according to Lesgers data for Amsterdam (chain index and repeated rent index) and the average rents per house according to the registers of taxes on real estate, 1560/61-1806/08 (1806/08=100)

             Lesgers data            Rents per house (Holland)
             chain     repeated-     absolute     index
             indices*  rent index    (fl)

1560/61        15        18             9.38        11

1630/32        65        68            55           62

1730/32       108       110           100          112

1806/08       100       100            89          100

1816/26        90        95            94          106

*: unweighted average of the series A, B and C

Sources: Lesger 1986; Eichholtz and Theebe 1998; data on average rents per house: Soltow and Van Zanden 1998: 28, 136; Van Zanden 1987: 576.

The other series were directly derived from the two price histories mentioned, although some problems did occur. There were many gaps in the series of beer prices, which were filled by using price data from beer-vinegar and vinegar, which were produced by the same breweries (the long run development of beer-vinegar and beer prices seems to have been almost identical). After 1740 the instititions don't buy beer any more; it had been replaced by coffee and tea and to some extent by jenever. Therefore, after 1740 beer prices were linked to an unweighted index of the prices of coffee, tea and jenever. Finally, prices of textiles after 1550 are rather scarce: we were unable to make annual estimates of their development and had to rely on different series of the prices of cloth and of linen - both with many gaps -, to construct the long term development of textile prices as a series of average prices for ten year periods (1550/59, 1560/69 etc.) (for more details see the appendix).

Table 2 shows the development of the individual series.

Table 2
The development of the most important series (1550/74 = 100)

         rent  bread  rye  butter drink peas  meat  fish  text peat  soap

1450-74     -    27    27    29    43    31    42    57    48    43    45 
1475-99     -    41    41    40    63    57    50    61    56    46    58 
1500-24     -    42    42    46    64    55    49    59    62    61    60 
1525-49     -    57    57    58    66    63    63    72    64    75    65
1550-74   100   100   100   100   100   100   100   100   100   100   100
1575-99   180   160   160   169   244   169   164   122   110   157   199
1600-24   344   208   175   240   241   243   227   156   171   183   237
1625-49   410   292   240   319   316   301   316   158   188   249   249
1650-74   499   310   225   325   337   417   350   195   203   249   295
1675-99   476   308   196   307   427   409   328   227   199   212   225
1700-24   536   306   188   294   512   335   353   235   196   230   252
1725-49   582   288   167   302   461   292   346   235   188   285   247
1750-74   589   303   196   311   508   370   346   249   202   329   268
1775-99   633   359   239   337   623   438   389   379   217   349   363

Sources: see appendix

The reconstructed series of the long term development of prices are in themselves interesting. It appears, for example, that rents increased more rapidly than all other prices, which is what one would expect in a region of rapid demographic growth and urbanization. But beer prices almost increase as rapidly (and even more rapidly than rents between 1550/74 and 1575/99); the heavy indirect taxation of beer helps to explain the strong increase in its relative price. Rye prices increased almost tenfold during the three and a half centuries covered by these data, but the prices of other agricultural products - butter, meat and peas - went up even more, especially during the century after 1575 when the Dutch economy went through its Golden Age. This testifies to a strong growth of demand for these luxury goods. The growing disparity between the prices of rye on the one hand (which is representative of all grains) and beer and bread on the other hand after 1550/74, is probably caused by increased taxation and perhaps a stagnation of productivity growth in these industries. It is striking on the other hand that the prices of (other) industrial commodities, and of fish, increase less than the prices of agricultural commodities; especially textiles (and paper, not shown in the table) become much less expensive in the long run.

The weights, and new products

The inclusion of rents and of the price of bread is a major step forward in comparison with the first generation CPI's. The selection of different weighting schemes is another potential of improvement. Phelps Brown and Hopkins for example assumed that the weighting scheme remained unchanged between the 13th century and the 20th century, which is a strong assumption. Theoretically one would expect consumers to adapt to changes in relative prices in such a way that they increase the consumption of goods which are becoming cheaper. Shammas (1990) has documented such a process for England, showing that the share of foodstuffs in the budget was already falling and the share of industrial goods was going up during the early modern period. De Vries and Van der Woude (1997) have summarized comparable evidence related to the changes in consumption patterns in the Netherlands; their main source were the accounts of institutions which make it possible to reconstruct their pattern of expenditure on consumption goods. Ongoing research by Arthur van Riel on expenditure patterns in the 19th century were another source of information (see Van Zanden and Van Riel 2000, p. 409). On the basis of these studies two sets of weights for labouring families have been constructed: one for the 18th century (linked to indices 1720/44 = 100) and one for the 15th century (1450/74 = 100). The latter weights are rather similar to the ones applied by Phelps Brown and Hopkins, whereas the 18th century weights are modeled after the 19th century expenditure pattern known from Van Riel's work. I have also added the estimated expenditure pattern of the Dutch elite during the first half of the 19th century, which was reconstructed by Arthur van Riel. This elite weighting scheme was estimated on the basis of a comparison between the expenditure pattern of the labourers from budget studies and the structure of expenditure of the total population from the reconstructed national accounts (see Smits, Horlings and Van Zanden 2000); the 'elite' was the difference between the two, taking into consideration their share in total income. The 'other industrial goods' which appear in the latter budgets have been allocated to the other items of non-food expenditure.

Table 3
Stylized expenditure patterns

                Labourers                              Elite
                England  Holland             Neth.     Neth.
                13th-    15th c.   18th c.   1806/62   1800/52
Bread (Rye)       20        40        30        22.1      16
Dairy Products
(butter)          12.5       5         5         5.9       9
Meat            ) 25        10         3         4.4       9
Fish            )            5         2         0.8       3
peas etc.          -         5        15         5.0       5
potatoes           -         -         -        11.8       -
Drink             22.5      10         5         4.1       4
other (groceries)                                6.7      10*

Foodstuffs        80        75        60        60.8      56

Textiles          12.5       9        15        15.4      10
Fuel (peat)        7.5       7        11         8.9       1
Soap               -         2         3         3.5       5
Rent               -         7        11        11.4       7
Consumer services  -         -         -         -        15
Other (industrial) -         -         -         -         6**

Total            100       100       100        100      100

* in the elite index this was estimated as sugar 5% and pepper 5%
** estimated by the price of paper

Based on: 19th century budgets: Van Riel (work in progress); other budgets: De Vries and Van der Woude 1997: 708-9; Phelps Brown and Hopkins 1981.

These four expenditure patterns were applied to the price series which eventually were converted into indices 1450/74 = 100. To find out how important the use of different weigthing schemes is, I calculated four CPI's on this basis (1450/74=100) (see table 4). As the price index of consumer services in the elite CPI, which represents the 'consumption' of the labour of servants, the index of wages was used.

Table 4
CPI's using four different weighting schemes, and the final index, 1450/74=100

             Engl.   Holland   Netherlands          final
                     15th c.   18th c.    elite     index 

1450-74       100       100       100       100       100
1475-99       133       140       142       123       140
1500-24       141       146       150       133       146
1525-49       170       182       183       158       182  
1550-74       275       299       296       254       299
1575-99       476       494       480       433       494
1600-24       575       658       668       567       658
1625-49       767       873       863       716       873
1650-74       794       958       982       778       973
1675-99       791       955       960       754       955
1700-24       841       980       957       764       945
1725-49       805       950       936       752       923
1750-74       866      1011      1018       796      1006
1775-99      1004      1177      1168       910      1113

Sources: tables 2 and 3, and the appendix.

Perhaps the similarities between the different series are more striking than the differences. The two indices based on the estimated expenditure patterns of labourers in Holland show a remarkable degree of similarity. This is an important result, I think. It shows that in spite of the fact the labourers tried to adapt to changes in relative prices by adjusting their demand patterns (i.e. consuming less expensive bread, meat and butter and more cheap textiles) they were unable to do much about the enormous increase in the general price level. An important reason for this was that at the same time they were 'forced' to spend more on housing, in spite of the fact that rents were going up relative to all other prices.

The absence of this rent squeeze, which has been ignored in much of the literature on the price revolution of the early modern period, largely explains the difference between the 'England' price index (i.e. the price index using the PBH weights) and the Holland indices, although the substitution of bread prices for rye also played a role. The elite CPI also shows a much less rapid increase, which is mainly due to three developments: bread had a much smaller weight in the basket of the elite, they elite profits from the relative decline of the price of consumer services (wages), and from the decline of the prices of industrial and colonial products, which they consume in much larger quantities than the labourers. This experiment suggests that in the early modern period relative prices moved in general in a direction which was unfavorable for the lower classes (i.e. sharp increases in the prices of bread and beer, and of rents) and favorable for the elite (i.e. a relative decline of wages - and therefore of household services - and of industrial prices) (see Lindert 1998 for a similar discussion of the development of British relative prices between 1740 and 1910).

Changes in patterns of consumption of the labourers did not affect their CPI a lot, however. The strong decline in meat consumption that can be observed in early modern Europe and the increased demand for industrial products were rather weak attempts to stem the tide of the almost continuous rise of prices (only after 1675 did inflation come to a halt). Similar results were obtained by Phelps Brown and Hopkins (1981: 89) who in one of their papers also referred to an experiment with different weights for their CPI which did not have a big impact on its long term development. This is a striking result, I repeat, because one would expect a rather different outcome, i.e. that changes in relative prices and demand patterns combined would have moderated the price increases to some extent. Labourers were, however, 'trapped' because they really needed the basic foodstuffs (bread, drink, shelter) and could not switch out of them to an extent which would seriously change their 'terms of trade' (i.e. the relationship between nominal wages and the CPI).

There may have been one exception to this. In the literature on changes in patterns of food consumption in this period much attention has been paid to the rise of the potato in the second half of the 18th century, a crop which replaced bread and vegetables (peas and beans) on the table of the labourers. This occurred in a period of renewed inflation, when Dutch nominal wages remained more or less the same (and therefore real wages seem to have declined substantially). Noordegraaf and other have suggested that labourers may have stabilized their real incomes by switching to potatoes, which gave much more calories per guilder. There are different ways to change the CPI in order to take this process into account:

  • the standard procedure is that new indices are created on the basis of the new expenditure patterns which come into existence as a result of the introduction of the potato: on the basis of the qualitative literature on this topic and the 19th century budgets it can be guestimated that the share of potatoes in the budget increased from 3% in the 1770s to 6% in the 1780s and 9% in the 1790s;
  • one can also estimate a 'quasi-hedonic' price index; assuming that the aim of consumption (of bread and potatoes) is the intake of calories, one can calculate the relative price of calories contained in these products, and introduce the price of potatoes accordingly; the welfare effect of getting more calories per guilder from potatoes is then taken into account (the weights are again identical to the ones used in the first approach: 3% for the 1770s etc.). Graph 1 gives an indication of the kilocalories that 1 guilder represented, which clearly shows the big difference between potatoes on the one hand and bread and peas on the other hand.

Both adaptions of the CPI show a more moderate rate of inflation after 1763 (when the series of potato prices begin). If we recalculate the CPI based on the 18th century weights accordingly and set 1763 = 100 for convenience, the index for 1790/99 is 122.9 for the unchanged CPI, 119.5 for the CPI with a convential introduction of the potato and 115.9 for the recalculated CPI with a 'hedonic' introduction of the new crop. It appears the potato has made a difference, but it only lowered the rate of inflation after 1763 by about a third.

The final CPI was calculated on the basis of the 15th century weights for the period 1450-1656 (1450/74=100) and on the basis of the 18th century weights for the period 1656-1800 (1720/44=100) (the year 1656 was selected to link the two indices because the experiment in comparing the two indices on the basis of 1450/74=100 showed that they had an identical level in that year). The final index (recalculated 1450/74=100) is shown in graph 2. It shows a pattern which is to some extent well known: a huge increase in the price level during the 16th and first half of the 17th century, followed by a much more stable development between about 1650 and 1750, and a second strong increase after about 1750 (but compared with the 16th century price revolution this increase was rather moderate). Comparable (first generation) calculations by De Vries and Van der Woude showed a decline after about 1660, which is not present in this series (the difference is largely due to bread prices - instead of rye prices - and the role of rents).

Real wages

To find out what happened with real wages I used the data on nominal wages collected by De Vries for the period 1500-1815, which almost exclusively refer to the wages of building labourers (my index is the unweighted average of the data for hodmen and for helpers of masons; see De Vries and Van der Woude 1997: 610-1), which was also extended backward to include the 1450-1500 period on the basis of Noordegraaf and Schoenmakers (1984). The wage series used is very 'traditional' and needs modification as a result of future research, which is however beyond the scope of this paper (the inclusion of other groups of labourers would perhaps lead to a stronger increase in nominal incomes, because the incomes of salaried personel grew more rapidly than nominal wages in construction and their share of the labour force must have gone up too, but there are no accurate data to estimate these changes - see Soltow and Van Zanden 1998: 43-4).

The real wage index which is presented in graph 3 shows a very strong decline in the period between the 1460s and the 1570s, a decline which was characterized by a huge fall in real wages during the 1480s (the result of very high prices during years of war and harvest failures), a stabilization during the decades around 1500, followed again by deep troughs in the 1520s and a renewed decline after 1560 which leads to the 'years of hunger' after the Revolt of 1572. After the disastrous decade following the Revolt, real wages return to the level they had during the 1540s and 1550s, and remain at that level for more than a century and a half (between the 1580s and the 1760s). I do not find strong evidence for an increase in real wages during the Golden Age of the first half of the 17th century, nor does the decline in cereal prices which sets in after about 1660 have much of an effect on the real wage. Long run stability (but not without fluctuations, of course) seems to have been normal during the greater part of the 17th and 18th century; only after about 1760/70 do real wages begin to decline again.

A number of changes have not been taken into account however. Noordegraaf (1985) and De Vries (1994a) assumed an increase in employment in the years after the Revolt because many holidays were abolished during the Reformation (and the booming economy created a strong demand for labour). However, it is unclear whether an increase in working hours should be interpreted as a welfare gain or as a loss of welfare. Leisure is a consumption good, and there existed probably a positive relationship between the demand for leisure and real income. Working more hours can also be interpreted as an adaptation to the decline in the real wage which occurred since the 1460s. If we want to know the development of real family income, changes in working hours of men but also changes in the participation of women and children have to be taken into account (and changes in non-wage incomes such as work in proto-industry as well as changes in household production). In general we lack sufficient sources to reconstruct family income in any detail. Therefore, in another paper I suggested to interpret the real wage as an important input in the decision making process of households which determines the choices the members of a household can make: if this crucial 'terms of trade' is declining (or in absolute terms low) a household cannot afford leisure and luxury consumption goods, and will have to substitute inferior goods for goods of a higher quality - i.e. its standard of living so defined will decline (see Van Zanden 1999). The standard of living in this view can be interpreted as the degrees of freedom a household has in its decision making process: low real wages certainly limit its choices, whereas high real wages increase them (see Sen 2000 for the link between freedom and economic welfare). Therefore, in my view, we should not make corrections for changes in working hours, participation ratios etc., when we analyse real wages as an indicator for the level and development of real wages.

Another aspect which needs to be mentioned is the decline in the amplitude of fluctuations around the trend value of the real wage. Visual inspection of the series suggests that after about 1600 these fluctuations become less sharp, which would certainly imply a positive welfare effect (assuming that the welfare loss of a sharp decline in real wages is higher than the welfare gain of a comparably large increase and that households are unable to save the extra real income of good years to finance the deficit of the bad years). This may, however, be the result of changes in the CPI itself (the introduction of rents after 1550 and of bread prices after 1596). More research into this topic is necessary to understand these dynamics (see Persson 1999: 106-13 for evidence on the decline in price fluctuations during the Early Modern period).

Appendix: the individual series

General: prices are mainly derived from the second volume of the Posthumus' Inquiry (1964), and are generally prices paid by institutions in Utrecht, Leiden and Amsterdam. Additional sources are the registres of the broodzetting of Leiden (which was followed by the rest of Holland) and, for the period 1450-1550, prices paid by Abbey of Leeuwenhorst (near Leiden), collected by Trudy de Moor (2000). Before 1530 the Utrecht prices, which were set in Utrecht stuferi and albi, were converted in Holland ponden/guilders on the basis of the 'exchange rates' published by Posthumus (1964: 28). After this conversion it can be shown that in the long run prices of wheat, rye, herrings and beer in Leiden and Utrecht moved quite closely together, which suggests that already after 1450 regional markets in the western part of the Netherlands were integrated rather well.

Rye bread: between 1596 and 1800 prices are derived from Posthumus' History of the Leiden Textile Industry (1936/39), which gives the prices of rye bread (of 12 pounds) according to the Leiden broodzetting; for the years before 1596 only price data from outside the western part of the country are available (Kuppers and Van Schaik 1981) which could not be used for this study; therefore I assumed that before 1596 (that is before taxation on milling became very severe) bread prices developed in the same way as rye prices.

Drink: 1450-1740: price of one vat of beer, on the basis of Posthumus 1964: no. 70, 172, 283, 368; these series have large gaps, especially during the 15th and 16th century; for intrapolation use was made of two series of 'beer-vinegar' (no. 124) and 'vinegar' (no. 223), because these products were often also made breweries in which more or less the same inputs were used. Regressions showed a rather strong correlation between the development of prices of beer and of (beer)vinegar, which made it possible to use the vinegar series for intrapolation.

After 1740: wholesale prices of Surinam coffee, Buoy Tea and Conr-Brandy (Posthumus 1943: no. 78, 80, and 100) were substituted for the prices of beer (a a result of the declining consumption of beer no beer prices are available after 1740 because institutions apparently stopped bying the drink).

Butter: (one vat) based on Posthumus 1964: 104, 180, 250, and De Moor 2000.

Meat: (100 pounds) Posthumus 1964: 101, 203 (beef), 376, and De Moor 2000.

Legumes: (Yellow) peas (last): Posthumus 1964: 98a, 99, 165, 265 and De Moor 2000.

Fish: 1450-1580: herrings (one vat): Posthumus 1964: 36, 112, 208 and De Moor 2000; 1580-1800: stockfish (100 pounds): Posthumus 1964: 113, 365.

Potatoes: after c. 1770 potato consumption grew rapidly in Holland, probably mostly at the expense of the consumption of vegetables/peas and beans. Potatoe prices for Leiden were published by Pot 1994 (note, however, that in tabel 5 and tabel 6 (p. 310) for the years 1792-1812 he has confounded prices of potatoes and of rye bread with each other).

Textiles: 1450-1540: based on series of relative prices of linen and cloth compiled by Posthumus from Utrecht data, Posthumus 1964: pp. LXX-LXXIII (no. 5 and 40). Especially for the period ca 1570-1700 textile prices are rare and the series published by Posthumus show many large gaps. However, the available series show that textile prices were relatively stable; it therefore seems warranted to concentrate on the long term changes and calculate ten year averages. The index for 1530-1800 is based on the series which are presented in table below. All data are from Posthumus 1964; it concernes: Black cloth: no. 5 and fragmentary data on pp. 694-5; red cloth: no. 8 and fragmentary data on pp. 694-5; coloured cloth: no. 9, 291 and fragmentary data on pp. 694-5; linen: no. 40, 292 and data from pp. 696-7. Those series have only one decade - 1530/9 - in common, which is taken as the basis of the textiles-index. The data for the index are presented in the table below; it was calculated as the unweighted avarage of the available data of cloth and linen prices per decade, after the elimination of a few extreme values (in 1600/09 and 1620/29) which were replaced by interpolated values. Because the prices of cloth and of linen show a similar development, which is for the period 1630-1800 confirmed by the evolution of textiles prices according to the prices on the Amsterdam exchange (see Posthumus 1943), the long term evolution of textiles prices seems to be rather robust - short term changes are however not captured by this series.

Relative and absolute prices of textiles, 1530/39-1790/99 (prices in guilders per el and index 1530/9=100)

period     Cloth    Cloth    Cloth    Linen    Linen    Index
           black    red      coloured

1530/9     1.18     1.30     1.05     0.13     0.13     100
1540/9     1.40     1.36     1.50     0.13     0.15     116
1550/9                       1.58     0.15     0.18     135
1560/9                       2.16     0.22     0.25     189
1570/9                       2.38     0.24              206
1580/9     2.40     1.50                                160
1590/9     3.35     1.69                                208
1600/9                                0.59              454(258)
1610/9     5.75     2.18              0.35              309
1620/9              1.20              0.46              223(328)
1630/9     3.59                       0.50              346
1640/9              1.89              0.57              292
1650/9     4.82     1.56              0.60              331
1660/9     6.14                       0.64              383
1670/9              1.85              0.61              306
1680/9              3.42              0.56              347
1690/9              3.56     3.50     0.58              351
1700/9                       3.60                       343
1710/9                       3.58                       341
1720/9                       3.60     0.35              306
1730/9                       3.75     0.36              317
1740/9                       3.75     0.40              332
1750/9                       4.00     0.33              333
1760/9                       4.24     0.38              348
1770/9                       4.19     0.42              361
1780/9                       4.00     0.49              379
1790/9                       4.25     0.43              368

Fuel: price of peat (per scouw/ton) from Posthumus 1964: no. 18, 44, 125, 266, 348.
Soap: price of ¼ ton of soap from Posthumus 1964: no. 134 and 228.
Sugar: De Moor 2000 (until 1560); Posthumus 1964: no. 177, 263.
Paper: Posthumus 1964: no. 19, 273, 389.
Pepper: De Moor 2000; Posthumus 1964 no. 43, 133, 330.
Rent: no series of rent was available for the period 1450-1550; it was assumed that the price of rent moved with the rest of the cost of living. After 1550 the repeated rent index of Eichholtz and Theebe (1998) was adopted.

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