What's the Jane Austen News this week?
Jane Austen and Economics This week we came across an article from the archives of the Jane Austen Society of North America looking at the economics of Jane Austen's novels. It made the very good point that, although we know that Mr Darcy had an income of £10,000 a year, £10,000 in Jane Austen's day is not the same as £10,000 today. As such, the article aimed to find out what Mr Darcy's £10,00 a year would mean for his wealth and status today. The stand-out element that really caught our eye was the table of potential modern equivalents. It has three separate columns which use different methods of calculation.
The first method uses the percentage increase in the U.K. retail price index to adjust to modern pounds. This method is the closest to the modern technique of calculating inflation, the Consumer Price Index, in that it uses a representative sample of retail goods and services, but it is less comprehensive than the CPI.[...] This calculation would place him today in the 99.42 percentile. The second method uses percent changes in U.K. average earnings, capturing how affordable items in 1810 would be relative to 2015. The third method uses percent changes in U.K. GDP per capita to capture Mr. Darcy’s status compared to what others earned in his time period. It is a measure of prestige rather than purchasing power [...] placing him in the 99.99 income percentile today.If you want to read the full article (well worth doing!) you can find it here. Many thanks to JASNA and the author Katherine Toran for such a great read!
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