Working for a Living? Women and Children's Labour Inputs in England, 1260-1850

59 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Sara Horell

Sara Horell

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics

Jane Humphries

University of Oxford - Department of Modern History

Jacob Weisdorf

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

We consider the living standards, supplies of child-labour, and poor-relief needs among intact and broken working-class families of various sizes in historical England. We estimate family incomes without resort to the usual day wages and ahistorical assumptions about male labour inputs. We also incorporate women and children's wages and labour alongside consumption smoothing using a life-cycle approach. Living standards varied considerably over time and by family structure and dependency ratio. Small and intact families enjoyed high and rising living standards after 1700. Large and broken families depended on child labour and poor relief up until 1830.

Keywords: Child labour, Consumption Smoothing, Costs-of-Living, Dependency Ratio, Life Cycle, living standards, Poor Relief, prices, wages

JEL Classification: J22, N13, O10

Suggested Citation

Horrell, Sara and Humphries, Jane and Weisdorf, Jacob, Working for a Living? Women and Children's Labour Inputs in England, 1260-1850 (April 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14651, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3594282

Sara Horrell (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics and Politics ( email )

Austin Robinson Building
Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

Jane Humphries

University of Oxford - Department of Modern History ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford OX1 3PG, Oxfordshire OX1 3PG
United Kingdom

Jacob Weisdorf

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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