How Skilled Were English Agricultural Labourers in the Early Nineteenth Century?

29 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2006

Abstract

Using the wage accounts of two different farms in the 1830s and 1840s, matched with census records to determine the age of the workers, this article estimates age-wage profiles for male and female agricultural labourers. Females earned less than males, and had less wage growth over their life cycles. Male wage profiles peaked at age 305, earlier than the wage profiles of workers today. Before the age of 30 wage growth was more rapid than increases in strength, but less rapid than wage growth among factory workers. If wage increases after the age of 20 indicate skill acquisition, then male agricultural labourers acquired a significant amount of skill, but less skill than contemporaneous factory workers.

Suggested Citation

Burnette, Joyce, How Skilled Were English Agricultural Labourers in the Early Nineteenth Century?. Economic History Review, Vol. 59, No. 4, pp. 688-716, November 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=934885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2006.00363.x

Joyce Burnette (Contact Author)

Wabash College - Economics ( email )

P.O.Box 352
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
765-361-6073 (Phone)

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