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How Long Was the Workday in 1880?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2009

Jeremy Atack
Affiliation:
Professor of Economics, University of Illinois, 1407 West Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801
Fred Bateman
Affiliation:
Chair and Professor of Economics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

Abstract

This article develops the first comprehensive set of estimates of daily hours of work in 1880 using new data from the Census of Manufactures. We conclude that the average workday was almost exactly 10 hours in 1880—almost a decade earlier than hitherto supposed. Our statistical analysis also reveals small but statistically significant variations in hours between firms and industries, between regions, and by location. We also find that higher-paid workers probably substituted leisure for income, that total employment was unresponsive to hours, and that hours and days of employment during the year moved together.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Economic History Association 1992

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