‘Cold, Calculating Political Economy’: Fixed costs, the Rate of Profit and the Length of the Working Day in the Factory Act Debates, 1832-1847
AbstractThe paper re-analyses the evidence presented by pro and anti-regulation interests during the debates on factory reform. To do so it considers the interrelationship between fixed costs, the rate of profit and the length of the working day. The interrelationship casts new light on the lobbying positions on either side of the debate. It does so by comparing the evidence presented in the debates before parliament and associated pamphlets with actual figures contained in the business records of implicated firms. As a result the paper identifies the compromise position of the working day length compatible with reasonable rates of profit based on actual cost structures. It is thereby able to reinterpret the validity of the claims of contemporary political economy used to support the cases for and against factory regulation.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 54408.
Date of creation: 13 Mar 2014
Date of revision:
Factory Acts; working hours; rate of profit; cost structure; accounting records;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
- L67 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Other Consumer Nondurables
- M4 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Accounting
- N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
- N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
- N8 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History
- O14 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- O38 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2014-03-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2014-03-22 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HME-2014-03-22 (Heterodox Microeconomics)
- NEP-POL-2014-03-22 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anderson, Gary M & Ekelund, Robert B, Jr & Tollison, Robert D, 1989. "Nassau Senior as Economic Consultant: The Factory Acts Reconsidered," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(221), pages 71-81, February.
- Siegel, Jeremy J., 1992. "The real rate of interest from 1800-1990 : A study of the U.S. and the U.K," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 227-252, April.
- Lazonick, William, 1981. "Competition, Specialization, and Industrial Decline," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 31-38, March.
- Clark, Gregory, 1994. "Factory Discipline," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(01), pages 128-163, March.
- Toms, J.S., 2010.
"Calculating profit: A historical perspective on the development of capitalism,"
Accounting, Organizations and Society,
Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 205-221, February.
- Toms, Steven, 2008. "Calculating Profit: A Historical Perspective on the Development of Capitalism," The York Management School Working Papers, The York Management School, University of York 41, The York Management School, University of York.
- Mueller, F. & Carter, C., 2007. "`We are all managers now': Managerialism and professional engineering in UK electricity utilities," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 181-195.
- Gray,Robert, 2002. "The Factory Question and Industrial England, 1830–1860," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521892926.
- Huberman,Michael, 2010.
"Escape from the Market,"
Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press,
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521142663.
- Clark Nardinelli, 1985. "The Successful Prosecution of the Factory Acts: A Suggested Explanation," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, Economic History Society, vol. 38(3), pages 428-430, 08.
- Humphries,Jane, 2010. "Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521847568.
- Marvel, Howard P, 1977. "Factory Regulation: A Reinterpretation of Early English Experience," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 379-402, October.
- Harley, C. Knick, 2012. "Was technological change in the early Industrial Revolution Schumpeterian? Evidence of cotton textile profitability," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 516-527.
- Toms, Steven, 2005. "Financial control, managerial control and accountability: evidence from the British Cotton Industry, 1700-2000," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(7-8), pages 627-653.
- Berg,Maxine, 1982. "The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815–1848," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521287593.
- Cooper, David J. & Sherer, Michael J., 1984. "The value of corporate accounting reports: Arguments for a political economy of accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 9(3-4), pages 207-232, October.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.