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Labour market in the Catalan cotton textile sector: Employment and fertility (1850-1913)

This paper deals whit the dynamics of the Catalan textile labour market (the Spanish region that concentrated most of the industrial and factory activity during the 19 Century) and offers hypotheses and results on the impact it had on living standards and fertility levels. We observe the formation of an uneven labour market in which male supply for labour (excluding women and children) grew much faster than the demand. We stress the fact that labour supply is very dependant on institutional factors liked to the transmition of household property between generations. Instead the slow path of growth of adult males demand for labour is witnessing the limits of this industry to expand and to compete in international markets. The strategy of working class families to adapt to scarce opportunities of employment we document here is the diminution of legitimate fertility levels. Fertility control is the direct instrument we think workers have to control their number in a situation that was likely to create labour surpluses in the short and mid run.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 718.

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Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision: Sep 2009
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:718
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