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Globalization and Worker Welfare in Late Nineteenth Century Europe


  • Michael Huberman
  • Wayne Lewchuk


This paper asks whether the trend toward convergence in late nineteenth century Europe depends on the welfare measure used. We construct a Worker Development Index (WDI) composed of Williamson's real wage estimates, and new series of work hours and labor market regulations. Compared to GDP/person, the WDI shows a weaker tendency to converge. Across Europe, workers' experiences in the so-called glory days varied. Although increased trade led to higher levels of output, workers' welfare depended to a greater extent on union representation or a strong central authority. Cet article porte sur la relation entre la tendance vers la convergence en Europe à la fin du dix-neuvième siècle et l'indicateur de bien-être choisi. On construit un indice de bien-être des travailleurs qui comprend les séries de salaires de Williamson et deux nouvelles séries sur les heures de travail et les réglementations dans le marché du travail. Par rapport au PIB par habitant, le nouvel indice de bien-être indique une faible tendance vers la convergence. Partout en Europe, le bien-être des travailleurs était varié. Il est évident que la croissance économique était liée à l'augmentation des échanges internationaux, alors que le bien-être des travailleurs dépendait plus du taux de syndicalisation ou des politiques d'un gouvernement central puissant.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Huberman & Wayne Lewchuk, 1999. "Globalization and Worker Welfare in Late Nineteenth Century Europe," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-01, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:99s-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jacoby, Sanford M. (ed.), 1995. "The Workers of Nations: Industrial Relations in a Global Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195089042.
    2. Linda Bell & Richard Freeman, 1994. "Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?," NBER Working Papers 4808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519.
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