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International Network for the Comparative History of Occupational Structure (INCHOS)

International Network for the Comparative History of Occupational Structure (INCHOS)

The international network for the comparative history of occupational structure (INCHOS) was launched in late 2007 by Dr Leigh Shaw-Taylor (University of Cambridge) and Professor Osamu Saito (Hitotsubashi University). This followed on from a session at the International Economic History Association meeting in Helsinki in 2006 and a very successful workshop on occupational structure hosted by Hi-Stat at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo in September 2007. A further meeting was held in Cambridge in 2008 which led to an ongoing book project. Sessions have also been organised under INCHOS umbrella at a number of other international conferences: European Social Science History Conference in Vienna in 2014; World Economic History Conference in Kyoto 2015; European Social Science History Conference in Valencia in 2016; Asian Historical Economics Conference in Seoul 2016. .

The aim of INCHOS is to develop a genuinely comparative history of occupational structure by using a common occupational coding system (PSTI – a modified version of E.A. Wrigley's PST system) and common methodologies to ensure commensurable results. Our interest is not in a particular period but on the long-run process of industrialization which means that the focus is on different time periods in different countries. The original network is now focussed primarily on a book project:

Occupational Structure and Industrialization in a Comparative Perspective, edited by Osamu Saito and Leigh Shaw-Taylor.

The book will contain nineteen country chapters (Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, England and Wales, Germany, Egypt, France, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, the Ottoman Empire/Turkish Republic, Russia/Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United States) written by country specialists and a set of thematic essays covering topics such as by-employment, female occupations, the importance of the tertiary sector and so on. The datasets underlying the book will be made available online in digital form. A more detailed description of the book including a full list of chapters and authors is available. Three key findings can be mentioned here. First, the deep-seated scholarly orthodoxy that the onset of modern economic growth is accompanied by an increase in the share of the labour force in the secondary sector and then at a later date the share of the tertiary sector begins to grow (Petty's Law) has to be rejected as only one country out nineteen (Germany) actually follows this pattern. Second, in some cases, most notably Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, the US before 1900, the secondary sector grew very little or not at all during the transition to modern economic growth. Essentially this was because labour productivity growth was so rapid in the secondary sector that the structure of output could shift dramatically to the secondary sector without a parallel shift in the structure of the labour force. Third, in many countries tertiary-sector employment increased significantly with the growth of manufacturing and, in some cases, without industrialisation. The focus of this book will be on the changes in aggregate occupational structure associated with industrialization and the transition to modern economic growth.

Labour force sector shares

Papers associated with the INCHOS project