Labour Markets and Living Standards in Britain, 1870-1960

The study of British historical living standards is at the heart of modern social science. The pioneering work of Booth, Rowntree, and Beveridge, among others, inspired generations of researchers to develop new theories and new approaches to measurement in order to understand the extent of poverty and how it changed over time. Evidence from Britain from the Victorian age to the beginning of the welfare state is instructive to understanding the evolution of living standards in a developing economy, and the impact of the rise and fall of globalisation, the economic crises of the interwar period, and the changes these wrought in the role of government offer highly relevant lessons for the contemporary context.

This conference, which honours the career of Professor Tim Hatton, will therefore focus on classic questions and debates, but with new ideas, and new approaches brought to the forefront. The sessions will consider British living standards in the long run, with three broad areas of focus, inspired by Professor Hatton''s body of research:

  • The role of labour markets in alleviating or entrenching poverty, due to the uneven incidence of unemployment, opportunities for migration, and the effects of government policy.
  • The measurement of well-being, whether through classic measures such as wages and incomes, or broader alternatives such as health and physical stature.
  • The role of migration in studies of labour markets and well-being.

While the conference will focus on development in Britain, the programme features comparative perspectives which shed light on larger themes of labour, living standards, and migration.

The conference is sponsored by the Economic History Society, the Royal Economic Society, the LSE Department of Economic History, and the University of Essex Department of Economics.

For more information, please contact the conference organizers on the address below. For registration, please click here.