Mattia Viale Edoardo Demo Roberto Ricciuti

Economic Inequality in Early Modern Venice: Evidence from a New Archival Source

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This article aims to show the possibilities provided by household budgets for the study of economic inequalities of the elites in pre-industrial times, using the city of Venice between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as a case study. Based on largely unpublished archival sources, income and consumption inequalities were studied in combination to give a glimpse of trends in economic disparities between the wealthier classes of the Republic. At the general level, we find an increase in the level of inequality throughout the early modern period, both in terms of income and expenditure. Deepening the analysis, we argue how this process is driven by intra-group forces and in particular by a divergence among the nobility


  • household budgets
  • inequality
  • early modern period
  • Republic of Venice


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