Civil Servants’ Living Standards in the Grand-Duchy of Baden, 1780–1913

Felix Selgert
  • Universität Mannheim, Abteilung Volkswirtschaftslehre, Mannheim, Deutschland


It is argued that from the early 19th century onwards Civil Servants received a remuneration that ensured a good standard of living and reflected social status. Yet, there are few empirical studies which test this hypothesis. This article attempts to bridge this gap by computing real living standards of district magistrates in Baden during the 19th century using a new consumption basket reflecting the material and social needs of members of the upper class. The empirical analysis shows that district magistrates had a high material living standard, as well as a high position within the income distribution. However, living standards were already high during the 18th century in both absolute and relative terms. Furthermore, absolute and relative living standards decreased from the mid-century onwards, negatively impacting district magistrates’ privileged position within society.

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