Economics at your fingertips  

Inequality and the working class in Scandinavia 1800–1910: Workers’ share of growing incomes

Erik Bengtsson

Investigaciones de Historia Económica - Economic History Research (IHE-EHR), Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, 2017, vol. 13, issue 03, 180-189

Abstract: One of the major ways in which economic inequality can increase is when the development of wages of ordinary workers trail productivity and GDP growth, meaning that the increasing riches fall in the hand of other social groups (top employees, owners of land and capital). This paper investigates the relationship between wages and GDP in Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1800 to 1910, using wage series for workers in agriculture as well as crafts and industry. It shows wages trailing GDP from the 1840s to the mid-1870s, with a particularly pronounced such trend in Norway. On the other hand, wages generally increase at the same pace as GDP in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s. The early 1870s is a break point also for food real wages which start increasing at that point. Four explanations for the varying fortunes of workers are tested: price developments, population growth, emigration, and institutional changes. Variations in labour supply, stemming from population growth and emigration, are shown to be the most important determinant. KEY Classification-JEL: E24. I30. J30. N13. N33

Keywords: Salarios.; Nivel; de; vida.; Historia; Económica.; Escandinavia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)
This is an Open Access journal

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Investigaciones de Historia Económica - Economic History Research (IHE-EHR), Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association from Asociación Española de Historia Económica Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Mauricio Matus ().

Page updated 2020-09-30
Handle: RePEc:ahe:invest:v:13:y:2017:i:03:p:180-189