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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Enriqueta Camps, 2003. "Labour market in the Catalan cotton textile sector: Employment and fertility (1850-1913)," Economics Working Papers 718, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:718

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    Labour market; female employment; children employment; fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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