12.11. Wages, Expenses, Real Wages, 1770-1860

The agricultural and non-agricultural occupations have to be calculated and analysed separately, as there are a number of differences in wages and in structure of expenses.

Wages

 AgriculturalNon-agricultural
   
Wage levelDefined by farmers’ incomes, i.e. wheat pricesDefined by negotiations with business owners, or with impersonal market
Wages movements in high-inflation periodsProtected from high cereal costsNot protected
Extra paymentsSummer wages, harvest wages,task work, gleaningNo extra payments
Non-cash benefitsBeer/cider, some cottages free of rent, own collection of wood for fireNone

Expenses

 AgriculturalNon-agricultural
   
Proportions food50 % cereal, 10 % meat25 % cereal, 15 % meat
CerealsBaked in own ovens for breadLoaves bought in bakers’ shops
MeatNo “red meat”Beef, mutton, pork
Pig meatPig fattened at cottage, 
sold, or killed and eaten during the year
Pork meat bought
ClothingHeavy dutyChange to cotton

The resumed data for the agricultural labourers for the whole period 1770 to 1860, based on the pages above and the previous chapter, are as follows:

(Average weekly winter wages per man)

The expenses, calculated according to the consumption percentages of an agricultural family, were:

And the wages adjusted for inflation (only the man’s weekly winter wages) increased by only 21 % from 1770 to 1860.

COMPARISON 1770 TO 1860
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS,
WEEKLY WAGES
1770 = 100 
WAGES             169
EXPENSES       139
REAL WAGE    121

We have to make adjustments from the man’s wage to the total family income:

The “model” for the agricultural families is as follows:

  1. of the number of adult male workers in the basis data per year, 80 % are men of 20 years or more;
  2. we suppose that exactly these men are heads of family, and thus this figure gives the number of families;
  3. the extra income for the man is made up of: 4 months summer wage, 10 % more than the winter wage, 1 month harvest wage at double rate, task work at different percentages during our period;
  4. for each family, there are proportionally 10 % young men of 16 to 19, who earn a full wage;
  5. 30 % of families have a son from 12 to 16 years, who earns 30 % of the father’s basic wage;
  6. starting from 1770, and decreasing to zero in 1820, 80 % of the wives earn 3 shillings a week from spinning;
  7. starting from 1840, 30 % of the wives work in the fields at 40 % of the man’s basic wage;        
  8. the income of little girls from spinning is negligible;
  9. the income of little boys working in the fields is negligible.
Average wageAverage wageWeekly wage Bushel wheat
Shillings weekwithout spinningShillingsShillings 
FamilyMan
177013.511.16.55.3
177513.711.36.66.2
178014.011.97.03.8
178513.311.97.05.1
179013.812.67.46.7
179516.215.28.99.1
180016.715.99.313.8
180517.317.010.610.9
181018.418.211.312.9
181519.519.412.18.0
182018.918.811.78.2
182517.517.510.98.3
183016.716.710.48.0
183516.416.410.24.6
184017.417.411.08.3
184515.115.19.56.3
185015.215.29.55.0
185517.317.310.99.3
186017.517.511.06.8

The above figures as to the man’s wages and the family’s wages, show an increase in real wages of only about 20 % from 1770 to 1860. But it must be taken into account that the wage figures start from a high position. The family income in 1770, including spinning, was 13 shillings per week, which could purchase 2.6 bushels of wheat.  

COMPARISON 1770 TO 1860
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
TOTAL FAMILY, WITHOUT SPINNING
1770 = 100 
WAGES                  158
EXPENSES.            139
REAL WAGES       114 
COMPARISON 1770 TO 1860
AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
TOTAL FAMILY, WITH SPINNING
1770 = 100 
WAGES                  130
EXPENSES.            139
REAL WAGES         94 

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