The Pay of Labourers and Unskilled Men on London Building Sites, 1650–1770
Economic historians have taken the pay of urban construction labourers as representative of the unskilled male wage for unskilled workers in long-run wage series and welfare calculations. This chapter argues that London labourers whose pay makes up these series were not unskilled, but semi-skilled, and brings new wage evidence to show that the unskilled nominal wage in London 1660–1800 was in many cases little more than half of what we currently use to calculate welfare and labour costs for the long eighteenth century in London.
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