Children's Work in Spanish Textiles during the 19th and 20th Centuries
This essay deals with the reasons explaining children’s work in 19th century textile factories and their removal during the first part of the 20th century. The inadequacy of the structure of incomes and expenditures of the household and the very low economic incentives to educate children can explain why children were in the factories and not in the school. Moreover, the marginal economic contribution to the economy of the household of a child was the same as that of his mother. This normally implied that women and children were perfect substitutes. When the family had a child at working age this allowed to replace the paid work input of the mother. With the beginnings of the 20th century a set of changes leading to the increase of women’s productivity and hourly real wages, switched the situation and involved the new incorporation of women into paid work and the investment in children’s human capital.
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