IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Reconsidering The “Firstmale-Breadwinner Economy”: Women's Labor Force Participation in the Netherlands, 1600--1900

Listed author(s):
  • Ariadne Schmidt
  • Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk
Registered author(s):

    This contribution provides methods for estimating developments in women's labor force participation (LFP) in the Netherlands, for both preindustrial and industrializing eras. It explains long-term developments in Dutch LFP and concludes that the existing image of Dutch women's historically low participation in the labor market should be reconsidered. Contrary to what many economic historians have supposed, Dutch women's LFP was not lower, and was perhaps even higher, than elsewhere in the pre-1800 period. As in other Western European countries, the decline of (married) Dutch women's LFP only started in the nineteenth century, though it then probably declined faster than elsewhere. Thus, this study concludes that the Netherlands did not constitute the “first male-breadwinner economy,” as historians and economists have suggested. Scrutinizing the nineteenth-century data in more detail suggests that a complex of demographic, socioeconomic, and cultural changes resulted in this sharp decline of Dutch women's crude activity rates.

    If 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.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 69-96

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:18:y:2012:i:4:p:69-96
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2012.734630
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:18:y:2012:i:4:p:69-96. 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: (Michael McNulty)

    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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.