, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 357-375

Child labor and the division of labor in the early English cotton mills

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The share of children employed in English cotton factories fell significantly before the introduction of effective child labor legislation in the early 1830s. The early factories employed predominantly children because adults without factory experience were relatively unproductive factory workers. The subsequent growth of the cotton industry fostered the development of a labor market for productive adult factory workers. This effect helps account for the shift toward adults in the cotton factory workforce.

JEL classification: J13, N33, O14

Received November 3, 1995/Accepted September 20, 1996