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An Economic History of the English Poor Law, 1750–1850

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  • Boyer,George R.

Abstract

During the last third of the eighteenth century, most parishes in rural southern England adopted policies providing poor relief outside workhouses to unemployed and underemployed able-bodied labourers. The debate over the economic effects of 'outdoor' relief payments to able-bodied workers has continued for over 200 years. This book examines the economic role of the Poor Law in the rural south of England. It presents a model of the agricultural labour market that provides explanations for the widespread adoption of outdoor relief policies, the persistence of such policies until the passage of the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834, and the sharp regional differences in the administration of relief. The book challenges many commonly held beliefs about the Poor Law and concludes that the adoption of outdoor relief for able-bodied paupers was a rational response by politically dominant farmers to changes in the rural economic environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyer,George R., 1990. "An Economic History of the English Poor Law, 1750–1850," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521364799.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521364799
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Walker, Stephen P., 2008. "Accounting, paper shadows and the stigmatised poor," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 33(4-5), pages 453-487.
    2. Ziliak, Stephen T., 1997. "Kicking the Malthusian vice: Lessons from the abolition of "welfare" in the late nineteenth century," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 449-468.
    3. Toke Aidt & Gabriel Leon & Max Satchell, 2017. "The Social Dynamics of Collective Action: Evidence from the Captain Swing Riots, 1830-31," CESifo Working Paper Series 6773, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Steven Pressman, 2014. "Keynes, family allowances, and Keynesian economic policy," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 2(4), pages 508-526, October.
    5. Peter M. Solar, 1995. "Poor relief and English economic development before the industrial revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-22, February.
    6. Jordi Domenech, 2008. "Labour market adjustment a hundred years ago: the case of the Catalan textile industry, 1880-1913 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 61(1), pages 1-25, February.
    7. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 379-394.
    8. Aidt, T. S. & Leon, G. & Satchell, M., 2017. "The Social Dynamics of Collective Action: Evidence from the Captain Swing Riots, 1830-31," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1751, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Henry French, 2015. "An irrevocable shift: detailing the dynamics of rural poverty in southern England, 1762–1834: a case study," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(3), pages 769-805, August.
    10. Gazeley, Ian & Verdon, Nicola, 2014. "The first poverty line? Davies' and Eden's investigation of rural poverty in the late 18th-century England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 94-108.
    11. Steven Pressman, 2014. "Keynes, Family allowances and Keynesian economic policy," LIS Working papers 616, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    12. Ian Gazeley & Sara Horrell, 2013. "Nutrition in the English agricultural labourer's household over the course of the long nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(3), pages 757-784, August.
    13. Joyce Burnette, 2006. "How skilled were English agricultural labourers in the early nineteenth century? -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(4), pages 688-716, November.
    14. Schaffner, Julie Anderson, 1995. "Attached farm labor, limited horizons and servility," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 241-270, August.
    15. Thomas Nutt, 2010. "Illegitimacy, paternal financial responsibility, and the 1834 Poor Law Commission Report: the myth of the old poor law and the making of the new," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(2), pages 335-361, May.
    16. Kauffman, Kyle D., 1997. "Introduction," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 399-403.
    17. Caprettini, Bruno & Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2017. "Rage Against the Machines: Labour-Saving Technology and Unrest in England, 1830-32," CEPR Discussion Papers 11800, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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