Living Costs and Real Wages in Nineteenth Century Lima: Levels and International Comparisons

Abstract: This article provides new evidence on salaries and living standards of low-skilled workers in Lima in 1825–73. During this period, low-skilled workers in Lima could cover their basic needs. Real salaries increased in the early-1830s, but declined in the following decades. Real salaries declined during the Guano Era in spite of the commercial bonanza. An international comparison shows that Lima had lower living standards than Northern Europe and Australia, but higher than Asia. In most of the nineteenth century, Peru and other Latin American economies had higher welfare ratios than China, India, and Japan.