UCBH sem: Raoul van Maarseveen and Adrian Poignant “The social cost of industrialization – Evidence from the 19th century Swedish iron industry”

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Ekonomikum K412
  • Lecturer: Niklas Bengtsson, Raoul van Maarseveen and Adrian Poignant (Dept of Economics, UU)
  • Organiser: Department of Economic History / UCBH
  • Contact person: Anders Ögren
  • Seminarium

The transition from artisanal to industrial production is an important step in economic development, but the effects on the artisanal workers remain poorly understood. In the latter half of the 19th century, technological advances in Swedish iron production initiated a wave of industrialization that caused around 300 artisanal finery forges and blast furnaces to close down as production moved to large-scale ironworks. We investigate the effect of these closures on worker outcomes using linked census data and a unique dataset covering the universe of iron producers between 1860 and 1890. We find that workers displaced by the industrial transformation became 23 percentage points more likely to exit the iron industry permanently, 25 percentage points more likely to migrate to another parish, and experienced a 10 percent decline in earnings relative to other groups of workers. While we find that the transition from artisanal to industrial production had persistent adverse consequences for some workers, we also find that these negative effects do not appear to carry over to the next generation. The paper is one of the first to quantify the effects of worker displacement during the second industrial revolution.

Co-authored with Niklas Bengtsson (Dept of Economics, UU) 

The seminars are organised as hybrid seminars, i.e. combining on site with on line.  Zoom links are sent out the day of the seminar.