Occupation, Marital Status and Life-Cycle Determinants of Women’s Labour Force Participation in Mid-nineteenth-Century Rural France
The French census of 1851 is one of the few nineteenth-century censuses that attempted to record the work of women and children carried out within households. This paper argues that the occupational designations in the nominative census lists are an accurate indicator of employment status. This paper analyzes a sample of 70,000 persons drawn from a set of rural communes in northern France. The data indicate that women’s labour force participation was strongly affected by marital status, the occupation of the husband and the presence of young children in the household. The data lend support to the hypothesis that the main driver of labour force participation was poverty.
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