Download An Economic History of the English Poor Law, 1750-1850 by George R. Boyer PDF

By George R. Boyer

Over the past 3rd of the eighteenth century, such a lot parishes in rural southern England followed regulations supplying bad aid open air workhouses to unemployed and underemployed able-bodied labourers. the talk over the industrial results of 'outdoor' aid funds to able-bodied staff has endured for over two hundred years. This booklet examines the commercial function of the negative legislations within the rural south of britain. It offers a version of the rural labour marketplace that gives causes for the common adoption of outside aid rules, the patience of such guidelines until eventually the passage of the terrible legislation modification Act in 1834, and the pointy nearby changes within the management of aid. The publication demanding situations many regularly held ideals in regards to the bad legislation and concludes that the adoption of outside reduction for able-bodied paupers was once a rational reaction via politically dominant farmers to alterations within the rural financial setting.

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Example text

Moreover, the free-rider problem and the possible decline in labor productivity associated with allowances-in-aid-ofwages were not associated with unemployment relief. The relief of seasonally unemployed laborers therefore should have been politically more acceptable than the allowance system. Two variants of the usual form taken by unemployment insurance systems were adopted by substantial numbers of parishes during the early nineteenth century: the roundsman system and the labor rate. 14 Some parishes required all labor-hiring farmers to hire a share of the unemployed laborers, by rotating the unemployed among farmers.

By making the conditions for obtaining relief unpleasant, parishes hoped to deter the poor from applying for, or accepting, relief. As just mentioned, the 1722 act gave parishes the power to withhold relief from persons who refused to enter a workhouse. Parish officials therefore could " 'offer the house' to any persons whom they did not think deserving of [outdoor relief]" (Webb and Webb 1927: 244). So long as the poor considered indoor relief sufficiently unpleasant, some would respond to the "offer of the house" by withdrawing their requests for relief, thereby reducing relief expenditures.

Large parts of the north and Midlands that did not specialize in grain production were enclosed after 1750 without resulting in the widespread adoption of outdoor relief. I show later in this section and in Chapter 3 that seasonality in the demand for labor (an important aspect of grain production) was a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the spread of outdoor relief, and that the decline of laborers' allotments was a major reason why outdoor relief became widespread in the grainproducing south and east.

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