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International comparisons

International comparisons

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. The aim of INCHOS is to develop a genuinely comparative history of occupational structure by using a common occupational coding 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. All occupational data are being coded to PSTI (PST International), a modified version of the occupational coding scheme developed by Wrigley and Davies. Details of the book project can be found below.

In July 2009 we hosted a very successful three-day conference in Cambridge with 32 participants from 9 countries giving papers on 13 countries. This was generously funded by the British Academy, the Trevelyan and Ellen McArthur Funds at the University of Cambridge and the Economic History Society. The intention behind the conference was to produce a book containing the first systematic international comparison of occupational structure during the period of industrialisation. Details of the book plan can be found below with links to some draft chapters.

The 2009 conference has led directly to two further international workshops on women’s work which will themselves be the springboard for further collaborative work. These are being organised by two INCHOS members: Dr Amy Erickson (Cambridge) and Professor Maria Agren (Uppsala). The first, to be held in Cambridge in September 2010, will focus on the early modern period. There are currently 30 confirmed participants from eight countries. The second and larger meeting to be held in Uppsala in 2011 will aim to bridge the gap between work on the early modern period and the nineteenth century (for which census records are generally available).

INCHOS Book Project:
Occupational structure and industrialization in a comparative perspective

Osamu Saito and Leigh Shaw-Taylor (eds.)

The book will be edited by Osamu Saito and Leigh Shaw-Taylor. It will include an introduction written by the editors and two main sections. The first and much the longer section will consist of a series of chapters summarising what is known about individual countries written by individual researchers or research teams. The second section will contain a number of short thematic chapters written by Saito and Shaw-Taylor drawing out some preliminary conclusions from a comparison of the country chapters. It is our hope that the book will, in due course, be followed by more country studies, and much further sustained comparative work.

The current line-up for chapters is as follows:


  1. Introduction: Historical occupational structures: perception, data, descriptors. Population densities and changing occupational structures.

Country chapters

  1. England 1750-1911, Leigh Shaw-Taylor
  2. Belgium 1846-1910, Erik Buyst
  3. Germany 1846-1907, Paul Warde
  4. United States 1850-1990, Susan Carter
  5. The Netherlands, Jelle van Lottum and Jan Luiten van Zanden
  6. Sweden 1800-1920, Pernilla Jonsson and Fredrik Sandgren
  7. Italy 1861-2001, Vittorio Daniele and Paulo Malanima
  8. Spain 1877-1981, Natalia Mora-Sitja
  9. Bulgaria 1888-2001, Martin Ivanov and Kaloyan Stanev
  10. Japan, 1885-1940, Osamu Saito and Tokihiko Settsu
  11. British India 1881-1931, Yoshifumi Usami
  12. Taiwan 1905-1990, I-Ling Liu and Tadayoshi Taniguchi
  13. Korea 1910-1990, Yiteak Park.
  14. Indonesia, 1880-2000, Daan Marks

Thematic chapters

  1. Female employment (LST)
  2. By-employment with sectoral labour productivity analysis (OS)
  3. Industrialisation, secondary and tertiary sector growth (LST)
  4. Occupational structure and economic development (OS)