University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Quantitative History Seminar > When did mothers work? Determinants of the labour supply behaviour of married women in nineteenth century Britain

When did mothers work? Determinants of the labour supply behaviour of married women in nineteenth century Britain

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It is widely recognised that the labour force participation rate of women in England and Wales declined significantly during the second half of nineteenth century. The theoretical explanation of this decline is an association with Z-goods production by mothers getting more valued. However, empirical evidence supporting this explanation have not been thoroughly explored. While previous studies have been based on smaller samples compiled from collections of patchy data or datasets at a single point in time, this study carries out a comparative static analysis using the full samples of the 1851 and 1891 Census Enumerators Books (I-CeM data). Verifying changes in labour supply behaviours of married women between the two periods, this exercise suggests that married women became more likely to respond to husbands’ income and the importance of Z-goods production for childcare increased.

This talk is part of the Quantitative History Seminar series.

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