Couples cooperating? Dutch textile workers, family labour and the ‘industrious revolution’, c. 1600-1800


This article aims to provide an empirical test of Jan de Vries’ theory of the ‘industrious revolution’, most notably his assumptions concerning the increased participation of married women in the labour force. The focus is on the pre-industrial textile industry in the Dutch Republic, within which a distinction is made between various ways in which family members cooperated in the work they undertook. This differentiation depended on the existing segmentation of the labour market, between social groups and between the sexes. It is shown that at least some groups within proletarian textile families were able to make a decent living, and that the earnings of wives played an important role in the increased industriousness of these families.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *