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Before Careers: Experiences of Wage Growth among Late Nineteenth-Century Swedish Cigar Workers




This article uses a new and detailed survey of cigar-making employers and employees to investigate male and female wage growth in the late nineteenth century. Swedish cigar workers in 1898 did not have careers like workers today do; instead, labor markets were more flexible, and workers were not much penalized for time out of the labor force. Job tenure was short, and firm-specific human capital was not significant. Women benefited from these flexible labor markets and, unlike today, were not penalized for childbearing. While cigar workers experienced some significant earnings growth, this was confined to the first few years in the industry. Men and women had similar earnings growth at first, but male earnings growth continued longer than female earnings growth, creating a gender earnings gap.

Suggested Citation

  • Stanfors, Maria & Burnette, Joyce, 2012. "Before Careers: Experiences of Wage Growth among Late Nineteenth-Century Swedish Cigar Workers," Lund Papers in Economic History 121, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0121

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    More about this item


    Earnings; gender; employment; household; piece rates; motherhood; family gap; late nineteenth century;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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