Real wages, working time, and the Great Depression
AbstractWe have assembled two British data sets to re-examine the behaviour of real wages over the 1927-1937 cycle that contained the Great Depression. Both provide a degree of micro detail that greatly exceeds previous studies. The first consists of annual wages for 36 manufacturing industries. The second is based on blue-collar workers' company payroll data within engineering and metal working firms. It allows us to distinguish between pieceworkers and timeworkers, 14 occupations and 51 travel-to-work geographical districts. We measure the cycle using national unemployment rates as well as rates that match our industrial and district breakdowns. The roles of standard and overtime hours are found to be crucial to the behaviour of real pay during the Depression. Real weekly earnings are strongly procyclical. Real hourly earnings of pieceworkers are also significantly procyclical. Otherwise, real wage measures that do not fully reflect hours changes produce either weak procyclical or acyclical wage responses.
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 of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2010-09.
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page: http://www.econ.stir.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC
Real wage cyclicality; working time; piecework; timework; the Great De pression;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-10-30 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2010-10-30 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-LAB-2010-10-30 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-MAC-2010-10-30 (Macroeconomics)
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.:
- Ronald G. Bodkin, 1969. "Real Wages and Cyclical Variations in Employment: A Re-Examination of the Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 2(3), pages 353-374, August.
- Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992.
"Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias,"
NBER Working Papers
4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Solon, Gary & Barsky, Robert & Parker, Jonathan A, 1994. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important Is Composition Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-25, February.
- Ben S. Bernanke & James Powell, 1986.
"The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Prewar and Postwar Eras,"
in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 583-638
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ben S. Bernanke & James L. Powell, 1984. "The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Pre-War and Post-War Eras," NBER Working Papers 1376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Liam Delaney).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.