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Job tenure and unskilled workers before the Industrial Revolution: St Paul’s Cathedral 1672-1748

Paker, Meredith, Stephenson, Judy and Wallis, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0003-1434-515X (2022) Job tenure and unskilled workers before the Industrial Revolution: St Paul’s Cathedral 1672-1748. Economic History Working Papers (343). London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

How were unskilled workers selected and hired in preindustrial labour markets? We exploit records from the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London (1672–1748) to analyze the hiring and employment history of over one thousand general building labourers, the benchmark category of ‘unskilled’ workers in long-run wage series. Despite volatile demand, St. Paul’s created a stable workforce by rewarding the tenure of longstanding workers. More senior workers received more days of work each month, preference when jobs were scarce, and the opportunity to earn additional income. We find the cathedral’s strategy consistent with reducing hiring frictions and turnover costs.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: https://www.lse.ac.uk/Economic-History/Working-Pap...
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N33 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N6 - Manufacturing and Construction > N63 - Europe: Pre-1913
N - Economic History > N8 - Micro-Business History > N83 - Europe: Pre-1913
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J23 - Employment Determination; Job Creation; Demand for Labor; Self-Employment
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2022 08:45
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 23:07
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115595

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