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Women's Paid Work in an Urban Developing Economy. Barcelona in 1930*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 January 2010


Jordi Domènech
Affiliation:
University of Yorka
Alexander Elu-Terán
Affiliation:
European University Instituteb

Abstract

In this paper we explore the determinants of women's work using data from Barcelona in 1930. Although participation rates were much lower in Barcelona than in cities in the UK or the US at roughly the same time, our estimates of the labour supply suggest women in Barcelona did respond to wage incentives. The most distinguishable feature of the household division of labour in Barcelona is the lack of substitution effects among family members, especially among women. The sensitivity of the participation of each individual woman to the participation of other members of the household might indicate that labour markets were highly segmented and anticipates the existence of large differences in household earnings and welfare. We argue that the persistence of labour-intensive methods of production requiring on-the-job training might explain the type of household division of labour that we find in Barcelona.


Resumen

Este artículo explora los determinantes del trabajo de las mujeres en la ciudad de Barcelona en 1930. Aunque las tasas de participación en Barcelona eran muy inferiores a las de algunas ciudades británicas o estadounidenses durante el mismo período de tiempo, nuestras estimaciones de la oferta de trabajo sugieren que las mujeres barcelonesas respondían positivamente a los estímulos salariales. Sin embargo, la característica más sobresaliente de la organización familiar del trabajo en el caso barcelonés es la inexistencia de efectos sustitución entre los miembros de la misma unidad familiar, y especialmente entre las mujeres. El hecho de que la decisión individual de cada mujer de participar estuviera positivamente influenciada por la participación de otras mujeres del mismo hogar apunta a la elevada segmentación de los mercados de trabajo y sugiere, a su vez, la existencia de grandes diferencias en los niveles de ganancias y bienestar de los hogares barceloneses de la época. El artículo argumenta que la persistencia de métodos de producción intensivos en trabajo y la acumulación de capital humano en el lugar de trabajo exclusivamente son factores explicativos del patrón de división del trabajo observado en los datos.


Type
Articles/Artículos
Copyright
Copyright © Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid 2008

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