Diffusion of a Social Norm: Tracing the Emergence of the Housewife in the Netherlands, 1812-1922

Tingbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. TI 06-107/1

45 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2006

See all articles by Frans Van Poppel

Frans Van Poppel

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Hendrik P. van Dalen

Tilburg University, CentER; Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Evelien Walhout

International Institute of Social History

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2006

Abstract

The emergence of the housewife in the Netherlands over the period 1812-1922 was strongly influenced by the social norm that women should withdraw from the labour market on the eve of marriage. Adherence to this norm is most clearly reflected in the emergence of the housewife among the lower classes, especially at the close of the nineteenth century among wives of farmers. Women in urban municipalities, however, set the norm far earlier and differences across social classes were significantly larger in towns than in rural areas. Paradoxically, the rise of the housewife did not change work pressures for lower-class women. This paradox is resolved by noting that they substituted registered work for unregistered work, e.g., in house industries, working in the family firm or farm.

Keywords: marriage, norms, division of labour, housewife, breadwinner

JEL Classification: D13, J12, J16, N34

Suggested Citation

Van Poppel, Frans and van Dalen, Hendrik P. and Walhout, Evelien, Diffusion of a Social Norm: Tracing the Emergence of the Housewife in the Netherlands, 1812-1922 (December 1, 2006). Tingbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. TI 06-107/1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=949165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.949165

Frans Van Poppel (Contact Author)

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 11650
NL-2502 AR The Hague
Netherlands
+ 31 70 3565241 (Phone)

Hendrik P. Van Dalen

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

Tilburg University
P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000 LE
Netherlands
+13 4668982 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/webwijs/show/?uid=h.p.vandalen

Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 11650
NL-2502 AR The Hague
Netherlands
+70 356 5237 (Phone)
+70 364 7187 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nidi.knaw.nl/en/staff/vandalen/

Evelien Walhout

International Institute of Social History ( email )

1019 AT Amsterdam
Netherlands

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