Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Department of Economic History, Lund University Lund Papers in Economic History, Department of Economic History, Lund University

No 158:
Constructing equality? : Women’s wages for physical labor, 1550-1759

Kathryn Gary ()

Abstract: This paper combines new archival data on women’s wages from southern Sweden with published series from Stockholm in order to create a series of early modern female construction workers’ wages between the middle of the sixteenth and middle of the eighteenth centuries. This paper finds that women had relatively high relative wages in the later part of the sixteenth century, with an increasing wage gap into the eighteenth century, and that the changes in women’s relative remuneration are connected to changes in demand factors. This paper challenges assumptions about women’s participation in manual labor, in many cases finding a lack of differentiation between female and male unskilled workers as well as and unskilled labor force comprised of from forty to sixty percent women and high work intensity for female construction workers.

Keywords: gender wage gap; wages; women; Scandinavia; Sweden; early modern period; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: N33; N64; (follow links to similar papers)

25 pages, April 13, 2017

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