Time and work in England 1750-1830 /

"Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? Marx said so, and so did E.P. Thompson; but where was the evidence to support this belief? Literary source are difficult to interpret, wage books are few and hardly representative, and clergymen writing about the s...

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Main Author: Voth, Hans-Joachim. (Author)
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York Oxford University Press, 2000.
Series:Oxford historical monographs.
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Main Author:Voth, Hans-Joachim.
Summary:"Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? Marx said so, and so did E.P. Thompson; but where was the evidence to support this belief? Literary source are difficult to interpret, wage books are few and hardly representative, and clergymen writing about the sloth of their flock did little to validate their complaints." "This study calls more than 2,800 witnesses to the bar of history to answer the question: 'what were you doing at the time of the crime?'. Court records from both urban and rural areas over the period 1750 to 1830 are used to reconstruct patterns of labour and leisure during the Industrial Revolution." "During this time, England began to work harder - much harder. By the 1830s, both London and counties in the North had experienced a considerable increase - of approximately 20 per cent - in the length of the annual working year. What drove these changes was not longer hours per day, but the demise of 'St. Monday' and a large number of religious and political festivals. In many professions, the working year appears to have been almost as long as it was in the 'dark satanic mills'." "The rise in labour input was crucial for economic growth during the Industrial Revolution. The new estimates for labour input derived from the courtroom evidence strongly suggest that productivity growth may have been zero or even negative for most of the period 1760-1830. This reinforces the new orthodoxy on the Industrial Revolution. To an important extent, output growth was driven by abstention, not ingenuity - and principally by abstention from leisure. The new findings presented in this study imply that gains in living standards were even smaller than previous studies had assumed. What gains in per capita consumption existed were bought at the price of a reduction in leisure."--Jacket.

Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? Marx said so, and so did E. P. Thompson; but where was the evidence to support this belief? Literary sources are difficult to interpret, wage books are few and hardly representative, and clergymen writing aboutthe sloth of their flock did little to validate their complaints.In this important and innovative study Hans-Joachim Voth for the first time provides rigorously analysed statistical data. He calls more than 2,800 witnesses to the bar of history to answer the question: 'what were you doing at the time of the crime?'. Using these court records, he is able tobuild six datasets for both rural and urban areas over the period 1750 to 1830 to reconstruct patterns of leisure and labour.Dr Voth is able to show that over this period England did indeed begin to work harder - much harder. By the 1830s, both London and the northern counties of England had experienced a considerable increase - about 20 per cent - in annual working hours. What drove the change was not longer hours perday, but the demise of 'St Monday' and a plethora of religious and political festivals.

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Physical Description:viii, 304 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references ([282]-299) and index.
ISBN:0199241945
9780199241941
Author Notes:

Associate Director, Centre for History and Economics, King's College, Cambridge; and Professor Titular, Economics Department, Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.

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