DP484 | Did Joseph Arch Raise Agricultural Wages? Rural Trade Unions and the Labour Market in Late-Nineteenth Century England

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The outbreak of rural unionism in the early 1870s and its subsequent collapse is a well-known milestone in labour history. It was one of the earliest attempts to raise wages among unskilled labourers through unionism. There has been much conjecture but little systematic analysis of its effect on rural wages. Using two different approaches we provide the first econometric estimates of the impact of rural unionism on wages during this era. We find that unionism produced a significant effect on the wage, although its overall impact was not large and declined substantially following the collapse of unionism in the late 1870s.