IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/ehsrev/v68y2015i2p441-470.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

‘To help keep the home going’: female labour supply in interwar London

Author

Listed:
  • Jessica S. Bean

Abstract

type="main"> Most prior work on historical female labour supply has been confined to looking at the female labour force participation decision. This article uses the detailed information on weekly hours of work and wages contained in the New Survey of London Life and Labour (NSLLL) (1928–32) to provide the first estimation of both the participation and the hours-of-work decisions for female workers prior to the Second World War. The main finding is that the labour supply curve was negatively sloped—women worked longer hours at lower wages. It is also possible to compare the determinants of the labour force participation decision and the hours of work decision among females in the NSLLL. It appears that the labour force participation decision was more strongly related to household income level than to own wages, while the hours of work decision among working women was more strongly related to the wage level than to household income. Finally, the article also examines the differential labour market behaviour of married women, female household heads, and young single women; most striking among these results is the evident added-worker effect on married women of the onset of the Great Depression in 1930.

Suggested Citation

  • Jessica S. Bean, 2015. "‘To help keep the home going’: female labour supply in interwar London," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(2), pages 441-470, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:68:y:2015:i:2:p:441-470
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/1468-0289.12052
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dessing, Maryke, 2002. "Labor supply, the family and poverty: the S-shaped labor supply curve," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 433-458, December.
    2. Hatton, T J & Bailey, R E, 1988. "Female Labour Force Participation in Interwar Britain," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(4), pages 695-718, December.
    3. Hatton, Timothy J & Bailey, Roy E, 2002. "Unemployment Incidence in Interwar London," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 631-654, November.
    4. Fraundorf, Martha Norby, 1979. "The Labor Force Participation of Turn-of-the-Century Married Women," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 401-418, June.
    5. Horrell, Sara & Oxley, Deborah, 2000. "Work and prudence: Household responses to income variation in nineteenth-century Britain," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 27-57, April.
    6. Greenhalgh, Christine A, 1980. "Participation and Hours of Work for Married Women in Great Britain," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 296-318, July.
    7. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    8. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    9. Finegan, T. Aldrich & Margo, Robert A., 1994. "Work Relief and the Labor Force Participation of Married Women in 1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 64-84, March.
    10. Costa, Dora L, 2000. "The Wage and the Length of the Work Day: From the 1890s to 1991," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 156-181, January.
    11. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-727, September.
    12. Hatton, Timothy J & Bailey, Roy E, 1998. "Poverty and the Welfare State in Interwar London," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 574-606, October.
    13. Sara Horrell & Deborah Oxley, 1999. "Crust or crumb?: Intrahousehold resource allocation and male breadwinning in late Victorian Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(3), pages 494-522, August.
    14. Hatton T. J. & Bailey R. E., 1993. "Household Labor Supply and Women's Work in Interwar Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 229-256, April.
    15. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
    16. Robert E. Prasch, 2000. "Reassessing the Labor Supply Curve," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 679-692, September.
    17. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2003. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 429-447, March.
    18. Moehling, Carolyn M., 2001. "Women'S Work And Men'S Unemployment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 926-949, December.
    19. Barzel, Yoram & McDonald, Richard J, 1973. "Assets, Subsistence, and The Supply Curve of Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(4), pages 621-633, September.
    20. Sara Horrell & Jane Humphries, 1995. "Women's labour force participation and the transition to the male-breadwinner family, 1790-1865," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(1), pages 89-117, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Arthi, Vellore & Fenske, James, 2016. "Intra-household labor allocation in colonial Nigeria," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 69-92.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 11230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lusi Liao & Sasiwimon Warunsiri Paweenawat, 2018. "Labour Supply of Married Women in Thailand: 1985–2016," PIER Discussion Papers 88, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Duo Qin & Sophie van H¸llen & Qing-Chao Wang, 2014. "What Happens to Wage Elasticities When We Strip Playometrics? Revisiting Married Women Labour Supply Model," Working Papers 190, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
    4. Unai Pascual & Edward Barbier, 2005. "On- and off-farm labor decisions by slash-and-burn farmers in Yucatan (Mexico)," Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers 06.2005, University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics, revised 2005.
    5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Kerry L. Papps, 2008. "Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation Among Immigrants: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 14387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lusi Liao & Sasiwimon Warunsiri Paweenawat, 2021. "The inversion of married women's labour supply and wage: Evidence from Thailand," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 35(1), pages 82-98, May.
    7. Stephan Klasen & Janneke Pieters, 2015. "What Explains the Stagnation of Female Labor Force Participation in Urban India?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 29(3), pages 449-478.
    8. Basilio, Leilanie & Bauer, Thomas K. & Sinning, Mathias, 2009. "Analyzing the labor market activity of immigrant families in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 510-520, October.
    9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Gender and Assimilation Among Mexican Americans," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 57-106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Kaya, Ezgi, 2014. "Heterogeneous Couples, Household Interactions and Labor Supply Elasticities of Married Women," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2014/18, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
    11. Gärtner, Dennis L. & Gärtner, Manfred, 2011. "Wage traps as a cause of illiteracy, child labor, and extreme poverty," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 232-242, September.
    12. Timothy J. Hatton & Roy >. Bailey, 2000. "Seebohm Rowntree and the postwar poverty puzzle," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 53(3), pages 517-543, August.
    13. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2011. "Substitution Between Individual and Cultural Capital: Pre-Migration Labor Supply, Culture and US Labor Market Outcomes Among Immigrant Woman," IZA Discussion Papers 5890, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Seik Kim & Nalina Varanasi, "undated". "Labor Supply of Married Women in Credit-Constrained Households: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers UWEC-2010-01, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    15. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
    16. Kim, Seik & Varanasi, Nalina, 2019. "Labor supply of married foreign-born women in credit-constrained households," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 411-421.
    17. Sandra Müllbacher & Wolfgang Nagl, 2017. "Labour supply in Austria: an assessment of recent developments and the effects of a tax reform," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 44(3), pages 465-486, August.
    18. Ahn T. Le, 2003. "Female Labour Market Participation: Differences Between Primary and Tied Movers," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 03-17, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    19. Gan, Li & Ju, Gaosheng & Zhu, Xi, 2015. "Nonparametric estimation of structural labor supply and exact welfare change under nonconvex piecewise-linear budget sets," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 188(2), pages 526-544.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:68:y:2015:i:2:p:441-470. See general 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ehsukea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ehsukea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.