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Hunger in hell’s kitchen: family living conditions during Spanish industrialization: the Bilbao estuary, 1914-1935

Juan Carlos Rojo Cagigal and Stefan Houpt ()

IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola

Abstract: Did the late industrialization in Europe’s periphery improve life for its urban class? This paper examines family living conditions in northern Spain during late industrialization in the interwar period. We concentrate on the Basque region, one of the emerging industrial areas from the 1870s on. Historiography holds that in the medium-term urban development and industrialization increased real wages and overall standards of living. We contrast this empirically by examining the effects of income shocks on families using high frequency data from 1914 until 1936. These contrasts introduce nutritional adequacy of family diets as an additional way of measuring living conditions. Our results indicate that real income did not improve and that demographic and social deprivation variables were highly responsive to short term economic shocks. This response points to the fragility of urban breadwinner families even during later phases of industrialization; the urban penalty was by far not being compensated by the higher nominal wages received

Keywords: Standards; of; living; Spain; Urbanization; Industrialization; Family; Deprivation; Mortality; Real; wages; Interwar; period (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N34 N93 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-05
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4)

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