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The Labor Force in the Nineteenth Century

Listed author(s):
  • Robert A. Margo

This paper surveys recent research on the labor force in the nineteenth century. I examine trends in the aggregate size, demographic, occupational and industrial composition of the labor force; short-run and long-run movements in nominal and real wages; hours of work; the development of the factory system; the growth of unions; and government regulation of labor markets, specifically protectionist legislation. Although my survey is deliberately broad in scope, there is an underlying emphasis on those aspects of change that had a direct bearing on the evolution of the labor force in the twentieth century. In keeping with this theme, the paper concludes with a brief comparison of labor markets at the turn of the century with labor markets today.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0040.

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Date of creation: Sep 1992
Publication status: published as S. Engerman and R. Gallman, eds., The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, Vol. 2. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0040
Note: DAE
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