Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Lund Papers in Economic History,
Lund University, Department of Economic History

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

Kathryn Gary ()
Additional contact information
Kathryn Gary: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Postal: Department of Economic History, Lund University, Box 7083, S-220 07 Lund, Sweden

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

JEL-codes: N33; N64

25 pages, April 13, 2017

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