The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Subsistence and Subsistence Wages

  • Krishna Bharadwaj
Reference work entry


In ancient economies where slave labour was the predominant form of labour, and for a long time after, when the material conditions of the labourer were not much better, the earnings of labour were viewed as not very different from the feed of horses. There were no ‘theories’ of wages but it was automatically supposed that they receive subsistence, certain fixed quantities of the necessaries of life. As working horses need to be maintained in adequate supply, the worker or the slave would be so provisioned as to be enabled to work and reproduce.


Böhm-Bawerk, E. von Boisguillbert, P. Cantillon, R. Child, J. Circular flow Internal migration International migration Locke, J. Mandeville, B. Market wage Mercantilism Natural wage Necker, J. Net product Petty, W. Primitive accumulation Quesnay, F. Steuart, J. Subsistence Subsistence wages Turgot, A. R. J. Wage differentials Wages fund 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krishna Bharadwaj
    • 1
  1. 1.