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A Very Peculiar Practice: Underemployment in Britain during the Interwar Years

Bowden, S., Higgins, D.M. and Price, C. (2006) A Very Peculiar Practice: Underemployment in Britain during the Interwar Years. European Review of Economic History, 10 (1). pp. 89-108. ISSN 1361-4916

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Abstract

This article presents new evidence on the determinants of short-time working in Britain during the interwar period. Using a selection of manufacturing industries we test the impact that output volatility, the benefit-wage ratio, and trade union density had on short-time working. We find that persistence effects (captured by lagged values of output fluctuation) and gender differences in trade union density were important for a number of industries. However, perhaps our most interesting finding is that the benefit-wage ratio also exercised a statistically significant impact on short-time working. This suggests that the Benjamin-Kochin thesis may be important after all. In other words, the army of short-time workers that existed in Britain between the Wars may, indeed, have been a ‘volunteer army’.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
The University of York > Economics and Related Studies (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 25 May 2009 14:40
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2010 10:11
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1361491605001590
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Identification Number: 10.1017/S1361491605001590
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6167

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