Household and market production of families in a late nineteenth century American city
Urban families in the late nineteenth century depended upon their children as their most important source of labor income apart from the male head of household. This paper explores the determinants of the labor force participation of children over ten years old within the context of the economic theory of household and market production, using micro-level data from 1880 Philadelphia. The father's income and unemployment, the presence of the mother or father, boarders, servants, older and younger siblings, parents' literacy, ethnicity, among other variables are used in a probity analysis of the labor force participation of children. The results validate the economic theory of household and market production demonstrating, in particular, substitution between mothers and their daughters and the role of comparative advantage in family decisions concerning the allocation of their members' time. Ethnic differences were only important for daughters.
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