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Piece rates and learning: understanding work and production in the New England textile industry a century ago.

Leunig, Tim (2003) Piece rates and learning: understanding work and production in the New England textile industry a century ago. Economic History Working Papers, 72/03. Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

New data on individual worker’s outputs show that New England ring spinners exhibited substantial on the job learning c. 1905. Despite this, variable capital-labour ratios meant high labour turnover reduced aggregate labour productivity only fractionally. The combination of variable capital-labour ratios and piece rates meant low average experience levels did not raise unit costs. This made firms willing to hire all comers, so immigrants readily found work. Equally firms were indifferent to labour turnover, so female workers could move between home and market work. As such piece rates were as an appropriate and successful labour market institution for this period.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/workingPaper...
Additional Information: © 2003 The Author
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
T Technology > TS Manufactures
E History America > E151 United States (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Collections > Economists Online
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 72/03
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2009 15:54
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22360/

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