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The rise of the middle class: The income gap between salaried employees and workers in Sweden, 1830-1935

Erik Bengtsson and Svante Prado
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Svante Prado: Department of Economy and Society, University of Gothenburg

No 186, Lund Papers in Economic History from Lund University, Department of Economic History

Abstract: We present the first comprehensive, long run salary information on Swedish middle-class employees before the twentieth century. Our data include school teachers, professors, clerks, policemen and janitors in Stockholm 1830–1935. We use the new data to compare the annual earnings of these middle-class employees with the annual earnings of farm workers and manufacturing workers. The results show that the income gap between the middle class and the working class widen drastically from the mid-nineteenth century to a historically high level during the 1880s and 1890s. The differentials then decreased during the first four decades of the twentieth century. The bulging earnings advantage of middle-class employees vis-à-vis unskilled workers chimes with Kocka’s depiction of the latter half of the nineteenth century as the era of the bourgeoisie.

Keywords: wages; salaries; income inequality; middle class; Sweden (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J31 N13 N33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 28 pages
Date: 2019-01-14
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-lma
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:luekhi:0186

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