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Externalities and Institutions: The Decrease in Working Hours nineteenth Century France


  • Jérôme Bourdieu
  • Bénédicte Reynaud



In 19th century France, the long working hours, produced worse conditions for the working classes even at times when real wages were increasing. In our view, the analysis of the process of decreasing of working hours, consists of identifying very long working hours as externalities. We show that even though there is a monetary transaction involved in the work contract, workers were in no position to defend their term interests and more precisely their health. We sustain that internalisation of externalities has been historically achieved through a collective effort to provide information and through the building of new institutions (unions, laws,...).

Suggested Citation

  • Jérôme Bourdieu & Bénédicte Reynaud, 2000. "Externalities and Institutions: The Decrease in Working Hours nineteenth Century France," Research Unit Working Papers 0001, Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA.
  • Handle: RePEc:lea:leawpi:0001

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    Labour market; working hours; economic history; externality;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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