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Trends in public employment and wages : the case of France in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Die Entwicklung der öffentlichen Beschäftigung und der Löhne : Frankreich im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert

Faria, Vivien de; Diebolt, Claude


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Abstract Im Mittelpunkt der historisch-empirischen Studie steht die Entwicklung der Arbeitskräfte und der Löhne im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert am Beispiel Frankreichs. Die Autoren gehen von einem Zusammenhang zwischen den Kosten für die menschliche Entwicklung (Löhne, Bildung, Gesundheitsfürsorge u.a.) und dem materiellen Wachstum aus und weisen insbesondere auf die qualitative Entwicklung der Arbeitskraft während der langen wirtschaftlichen Depressionsphasen bis 1945 hin. Ihre Hypothese begründen sie damit, dass die Entwicklung des sozioökonomischen Systems auf einem Wechsel zwischen der quantitativen Entwicklung materieller Akkumulation und der Beschäftigung einerseits und der qualitativen Entwicklung von Arbeitskraft und Kapital durch technologische Innovation andererseits beruht. (ICI)

'The conjunctural swing in the early 1970s resulted in new research on long waves of the 'Kondratieff' type. Previous theories seemed to have lost their explanatory power when confronted with the atypical fluctuations of certain variables (prices, production, etc.). It became necessary to formulate and verify new hypotheses to explain the original features of the structural crisis that was assuming shape. The present paper in part responds to this need. It postulates a relation between expenditure on human development (wages, education, health care, etc.) and on material growth. We assume that there was a qualitative development of the labour force until 1945 during long phases of economic difficulties; subsequently, this development tended to worsen during prosperous periods. This phenomenon is explained by the hypothesis that until the eve of World War II, the development of the socio-economic system was based on an alternation between the quantitative development of material accumulation and employment on the one hand, and the qualitative development of labour force and capital through technological innovation on the other hand. This qualitative development of the labour force during the long depression phase may account for the strong increase in expenditure on human development. Newly created conditions made it possible to take into account the necessary development of the labour force - especially the development of its qualitative aspect; this structural change could render the productive forces more efficient, thus opening the way for a new accumulation cycle. The reversal of the cycle after World War II, with strong growth during the prosperity phase and slower growth since 1973, raises the question if the regulation process has possibly been reversed. This change may show that, after all, human development does not have the edge over the development of material accumulation as the major determinant of economic growth. The study on the development of wages over a long period of time should provide an answer to these issues. 'During the last half( century, governments nearly everywhere have become more powerful influences in economic life. As yet, however, little is known in quantitative terms about the size governments have attained, the rapidity of their growth, what-functions they have assumed, how large these functions loom, and what differences can be observed among countries. [..] to the more general question of the role of government in economic life, we should recognize that the relation of the state to the economy has two aspects. First of all, governments act as economic agent. That is to say, they participate directly in the activities of the economy. They buy goods, hire labor and other productive factors, and organize them for the output of goods and services. Some of this output is sold, some given away, and much of it applied to public purposes of a more diffuse or intangible sort. [..] The second aspect of government in its relation to economic life is its more obvious influence as a regulator, that is, as a political agent'. ' (author's abstract)
Thesaurusschlagwörter capacity to work; poverty; employment; France; historical development; capital; wage; socioeconomic development; national state; national income; economic growth; nineteenth century; twentieth century
Klassifikation Volkswirtschaftstheorie; Sozialgeschichte, historische Sozialforschung
Methode empirisch; empirisch-quantitativ; historisch
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2000
Seitenangabe S. 3-24
Zeitschriftentitel Historical Social Research, 25 (2000) 1
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Veröffentlichungsversion; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz Creative Commons - Namensnennung, Nicht-kommerz.