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Gender, Work and Wages in Industrial Revolution Britain


  • Burnette,Joyce


A major study of the role of women in the labour market of Industrial Revolution Britain. It is well known that men and women usually worked in different occupations, and that women earned lower wages than men. These differences are usually attributed to custom but Joyce Burnette here demonstrates instead that gender differences in occupations and wages were instead largely driven by market forces. Her findings reveal that rather than harming women competition actually helped them by eroding the power that male workers needed to restrict female employment and minimising the gender wage gap by sorting women into the least strength-intensive occupations. Where the strength requirements of an occupation made women less productive than men, occupational segregation maximised both economic efficiency and female incomes. She shows that women's wages were then market wages rather than customary and the gender wage gap resulted from actual differences in productivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Burnette,Joyce, 2011. "Gender, Work and Wages in Industrial Revolution Britain," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521312288, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521312288

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    1. Prebisch, Raúl, 1950. "The economic development of Latin America and its principal problems," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 29973, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    2. Justin Yifu Lin, 2011. "New Structural Economics: A Framework for Rethinking Development," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 26(2), pages 193-221, August.
    3. Justin Yifu Lin, 2012. "New Structural Economics : A Framework for Rethinking Development and Policy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2232.
    4. Lin, Justin Yifu, 2003. "Development Strategy, Viability, and Economic Convergence," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(2), pages 276-308, January.
    5. Dirk Willem te Velde & Justin Lin & Célestin Monga & Suresh D. Tendulkar & Alice Amsden & K. Y. Amoako & Howard Pack & Wonhyuk Lim, 2011. "DPR Debate: Growth Identification and Facilitation: The Role of the State in the Dynamics of Structural Change," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 29(3), pages 259-310, May.
    6. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
    7. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
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