Attribution requirement

When using these data (for whatever purpose), you must cite us. If you are using a single price or piece of information from this website, cite the Prices, Wages and Rents in Portugal 1300-1910 project. Additionally, cite the papers corresponding to whatever output data you require or have used. For example, for Lisbon real wages, you should cite:

Costa, L., N. Palma and J. Reis (2015). The great escape? the contribution of the empire to Portugal’s economic growth, 1500-1800. European Review of Economic History (2015) 19 (1): 1-22

while for Portugal’s per capita GDP 1527-1850, you should cite:

Palma, N. and J. Reis (2019). From convergence to divergence: Portuguese economic growth, 1527-1850. Journal of Economic History 79 (2): 477-506

The underlying output data (e.g. real wages and income per capita in constant prices) can be found in Nuno Palma’s website, under the corresponding papers in publications.

History of the PWR project

The project Prices, Wages and Rents in Portugal 1300-1910 was started in 2009, with a duration of three years, and renewed in 2012 for another three years. It has been financed by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the designations of program PTDC/HAH/70938/2006 and program PTDC/HIS-HIS/123046/2010.

One of its three aims was to construct a data base of wages, prices and rents in Portugal between 1300 and 1910 covering the entire country. The focus should be on major and lesser cities, both inland and on the coast, and located in six different regions. The various time series should be homogeneous, consistent and comparable with similar work in other countries. They would draw on earlier results by historians, whenever possible and appropriate. Mostly, however and given the enormity of the gaps in this evidence, they would have to be filled from archival research around the country.

Thanks to its geographical scope, comprehensiveness and reliability,this data base was intended to be a major resource for those interested in quantifying Portuguese economic history up to the twentieth century.

The project’s second aim was to create, out of this mass of information, a new set of indicators in order to provide a revision of Portugal’s economic past before industrialization. This agenda would involve constructing indices of GDP, per capita GDP, gross agricultural output and productivity, real prices, CPIs and the like. Particular stress was to be placed on regional asymmetries and the integration of markets over these four centuries.

The third objective made possible by this data collection effort was to study long run changes in the inequality of income distribution, both locally and at the national level, from the 14th to the 18th centuries.

The data base shown on this site is the fruit of the first of these endeavours. Despite the generous funding of the FCT, the skill and dedication of our research assistants and the helpful support from the staffs of the many archives we visited, in the end we were able only to put together four full sub bases for respectively Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Évora. Materials were gathered also for the Algarve, Viseu and Caldas da Rainha, as well for periods before the 13th century.

At present, we are making available thousands of observations of prices of 134 commodities in four markets and rates of pay of 26 occupations. Housing and land rents from different parts of the country have been gathered too but on a far more modest scale.

The present data base is being permanently updated. Although the FCT project has reached the end, its participants continue to gather fresh statistics and, as a result, many of the series are frequently being modified (to see when the last update was made, please go to print preview of the Excel file that you wish to consult) .

For the text of the full proposals of the FCT projects, see the annexes to this page.

iconPDF FCT proposal Project PWR Portugal 1500-1910
iconPDF FCT proposal Project PWR Portugal 1300-1910