The Journal of Economic History


City-Farm Wage Gaps in Late Nineteenth-Century France

Pierre Sicsica1

a1 Centre de Recherche of the Banque de France, 39 rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs, 75001 Paris, France.


Wage gaps between farm and city are used to assess whether industrialization in late nineteenth-century France was choked off by peasants' alleged reluctance to move. If industry suffered due to labor scarcity, wage gaps should have been large and rising. It turns out that the wage gap, when adjusted for costs of living and computed as an average of 20 regional wage gaps, was nil in 1852 and about 25 percent in 1892. Thus wage gaps were rising but were far smaller throughout the late nineteenth century than they were in England during similar stages of industrialization.