Family life cycle living standards in a pre/early industrial city: Stockholm from 1800 to 1880

Gustafscenen Session 4: Life cycles incomes and relief during stages of economic hardship organized by Anton Svensson and Louise Cormack


Anton Svensson


Recent research has highlighted to need for a better understanding of the development of historical living standards across the family life cycle (Horrell, Humphries, Weisdorf 2022). In contemporary settings, we have a rather advanced understanding of life cycle patterns in terms of income, occupational structure, the employment rate in different institutional settings, and the mediators set in place to alleviate these fluctuations. However, we know much less about the situation in pre/early industrial societies. This severely limits our understanding of how life proceeded, not at a specific age but in a dynamic way how people in the past would go from the cradle to the grave. By following individual men and their households over time in 19th century Stockholm, we estimate changes in occupation, income, and family formation providing a more informed picture of changing living standards across the family life cycle in a pre-industrial society. These new data for Stockholm greatly expands our knowledge of how historical living standards varied across the family life course.


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