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Time and work in England 1750-1830 /
Hans-Joachim Voth.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Clarendon Press, 2000.
description
viii, 304 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0199241945
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Clarendon Press, 2000.
isbn
0199241945
catalogue key
4252051
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-02-01:
Voth (King's College, UK) furnishes new evidence for pessimism about the first industrial revolution. Norman Crafts raised doubts years ago by finding that technological change added little to British growth from 1760 to 1830. Now Voth rejects the theory of innovative "take-off" by arguing that output grew simply because British workers worked more. They gave up various holidays, including St. Monday, and by the early 19th century were spending roughly 20 per cent more time on the job than they had in 1760. Voth also estimates minuscule growth in per capita consumption during the period by treating leisure as a commodity and finding less of it. His new data on work habits come from the testimony of more than 2,800 witnesses at the Old Bailey who happened to comment on their use of time. The evidence, Voth admits, has its limitations. But his discoveries revive the suspicion that merry old England really did disappear behind the walls of satanic mills. And he supports more recent observations by Jan De Vries about an "industrious revolution" and by Paul Krugman about "Stalinist growth." The study has a useful bibliography and is intended for students who can follow the technical arguments of cliometrics. Recommended for upper-division undergraduate through faculty collections. G. F. Steckley Knox College
Reviews
Review Quotes
'brings both new evidence and a new approach to this celebrated issue'Jane Humphries, EH.NET
Hans-Joachim Voth's Time and Work contains important and impressive quantitive research into a crucial dimension of social change in eighteenth-century England. It demonstrates an imaginative use of familiar sources to make an invaluable contribution to one of the great debates in the historiography of industrialization.
'Original and useful ideas are infrequent in economics or in history. Most of us have to make do by appropriating from others and repackaging. But this book develops an idea that is both novel and ingenious. The author deserves much praise.'Gregory Clark, Journal of Economic History
Should be read by anyone interested in the history of time use, the industrial revolution, and the uses (and limits) of econometric history ... Voth proceeds to construct one of the most impressive bodies of historical data ever seen.
This is a fine book. Innovative, insightful, awesomely efficient, it encompasses both small detail and big picture. It will surely be one of the most influential books ever written both on the industrial revolution and on the issue of time use ... probably a masterpiece of econometric history.
'This is a stimulating and challenging new study that will do much to reshape our understanding of the industrial revolution.'J.M., Contemporary Review, March 2001.
Time and Work in England 1750-1830 brings both new evidence and a new approach to this celebrated issue.
Voth builds up a fascinating picture of changing work and leisure patterns in the second half of the eighteenth century ... we must admire the imagination and rigour demonstrated in the research behind this book.
Voth's book lends powerful support to the new view of the industrial revolution.
'Voth's book lends powerful support to the new view of the industrial revolution.'Jane Humphries, EH.NET
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2002
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? Marx said so, but where is the evidence to support this belief? The author uses court testimonies to reconstruct labour and leisure patterns.
Long Description
Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? In this important study, Hans-Joachim Voth addresses this question using rigorously analyzed statistical data. Drawing on this research, Voth has created six datasets for both rural and urban areas over the period 1750 to 1830 to reconstruct patterns of leisure and labor.
Long Description
Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? Marx said so, and so did E. P. Thompson; but where was the evidence to support this belief? Literary sources are difficult to interpret, wage books are few and hardly representative, and clergymen writing about the sloth of their flock did little to validate their complaints. In this important and innovative study Hans-Joachim Voth for the first time provides rigorously analysed statistical data. He calls more than 2,800 witnesses to the bar of history to answer the question: 'what were you doing at the time of the crime?'. Using these court records, he is able to build six datasets for both rural and urban areas over the period 1750 to 1830 to reconstruct patterns of leisure and labour. Dr Voth is able to show that over this period England did indeed begin to work harder - much harder. By the 1830s, both London and the northern counties of England had experienced a considerable increase - about 20 per cent - in annual working hours. What drove the change was not longer hours per day, but the demise of 'St Monday' and a plethora of religious and political festivals.
Main Description
Did working hours in England increase as a result of the Industrial Revolution? Marx said so, and so did E. P. Thompson; but where was the evidence to support this belief? Literary sources are difficult to interpret, wage books are few and hardly representative, and clergymen writing aboutthe sloth of their flock did little to validate their complaints.In this important and innovative study Hans-Joachim Voth for the first time provides rigorously analysed statistical data. He calls more than 2,800 witnesses to the bar of history to answer the question: 'what were you doing at the time of the crime?'. Using these court records, he is able tobuild six datasets for both rural and urban areas over the period 1750 to 1830 to reconstruct patterns of leisure and labour.Dr Voth is able to show that over this period England did indeed begin to work harder - much harder. By the 1830s, both London and the northern counties of England had experienced a considerable increase - about 20 per cent - in annual working hours. What drove the change was not longer hours perday, but the demise of 'St Monday' and a plethora of religious and political festivals.
Table of Contents
Time and the Industrial Revolution
Method
Patterns of Time Use 1750-1830
Causes and Consequences
Comparisons and Conclusion
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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