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Hunger in hell’s kitchen : family living conditions during Spanish industrialization : the Bilbao estuary, 1914-1935


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  • Juan Carlos Rojo Cagigal


  • Stepan Houpt


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    Did the late industrialization in Europe’s periphery improve life for its urban class? This paper examines family living conditions in northern Spain during late industrialization in the interwar period. We concentrate on the Basque region, one of the emerging industrial areas from the 1870s on. Historiography holds that in the medium-term urban development and industrialization increased real wages and overall standards of living. We contrast this empirically by examining the effects of income shocks on families using high frequency data from 1914 until 1936. These contrasts introduce nutritional adequacy of family diets as an additional way of measuring living conditions. Our results indicate that real income did not improve and that demographic and social deprivation variables were highly responsive to short term economic shocks. This response points to the fragility of urban breadwinner families even during later phases of industrialization; the urban penalty was by far not being compensated by the higher nominal wages received

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wp11-04.

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    Date of creation: May 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp11-04

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    Keywords: Standards of living; Spain; Urbanization; Industrialization; Family; Deprivation; Mortality; Real wages; Interwar period;

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    1. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2007. "Inequality, poverty, and the Kuznets curve In Spain, 1850-2000," Working Papers in Economic History wp07-13, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
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