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Hours and wages in the Depression: British engineering, 1926-1938

Hart RA (2001) Hours and wages in the Depression: British engineering, 1926-1938, Explorations in Economic History, 38 (4), pp. 478-502.

On their intensive margins, firms in the British engineering industry adjusted to the severe falls in demand during the 1930s Depression by cutting hours of work. This provided an important means of reducing labour input and marginal labour costs, through movements from overtime to short-time schedules. Nominal basic wage rates dropped relatively modestly while their real wage equivalents continued to rise throughout the trough years of the recession. This paper provides detailed labour market and empirical analysis of the hours and wage adjustment processes. Quantitative work is based on cell data from a panel of 28 local labour markets for the period 1926-38. The data dichotomise between skilled fitters and unskilled labourers and between time-rate and piece-rate workers.

Hours, Wages, the Great Depression, Engineering

Subject headings
Labor market Great Britain Depressions 1929; Engineering Wages Great Britain; Wages and labor productivity Great Britain Depressions 1929; Hours of labor Depressions 1929

AuthorsHart Robert A
Publication date10/2001
ISSN 0014-4983

Explorations in Economic History: Volume 38, Issue 4 (2001)

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