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Keywords:

  • N35;
  • N95
  • consumption;
  • India;
  • standard of living;
  • textiles

Using data on the production and usage of cotton, the paper develops estimates for the production and consumption of cotton cloth in India during 1795–1940, and based on these numbers, revisits three issues central to interpretations of economic change in colonial India. These are trends in levels of living, the correlation between production of textiles and consumption of textiles, and consumption of clothing in India in relation to the rest of the world. Average consumption of cotton cloth in India rose even as production declined, while real income grew more slowly, if at all, than the consumption of clothing.