CfP: Gender and Household Budgets in Contemporary European History (session at the III ELHN Conference)

Call for papers, deadline 15 October 2018



Cristina Borderías  
History Department, University of Barcelona  (Spain)

Luisa Muñoz Abeledo
History Department, University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

Panel Abstract

The literature on wages and family budgets in contemporary Europe and abroad has not yet analyzed real wages taking into account wages of men, women and children in the long term. Little is known of the wage differential between men and women, and less of the contribution that female wage made to family income either in money or in time (Verdon 2002, Borderías y Guallar 2001 y 2003, Borderías 2013). For instance, wages series available in European agriculture rarely include women, thus we cannot participate in the international debate on the role of women's wages in economic growth or in the transformation of demographic behavior (Humphries and Weisdorf, 2015, 2016; Botter 2018).

The use of family budgets for the analysis of family living levels during the process of industrialization has especially paradigmatic examples among British historians. Some particularly well-known cases (Horrell and Humphries (1992) have questioned the optimistic thesis about the evolution of living standards based on the analysis of the upward evolution of real wages of adult males, because even when the wages of women and children had evolved in line with male wages, if job opportunities for women and children declined, family income could have declined as well, and reducing the analysis to real wages underestimates the contribution of other economic resources in which women and children had a central role, such as self-consumption, aid to the poor, and so on. The use of family budgets introduces a greater complexity in the comparative analysis of the levels of life of different trades (Van den Eeckhout, 1993), because when taking into account the income of the whole of household members, it may turn out that families headed by relatively modest trades have higher than other more qualified jobs in which, due to status, women and children do not work. Furthermore, family budgets are an optimal way of identifying inequality and poverty trends in the long run and they let us see how families responded to the economic environment (Horrell and Humphries, 1992; Vecchi, 2016, Borderías y Muñoz-Abeledo 2018).

In this panel we invite all those researchers who are working in the construction of family budgets that include the contribution of female and/or children whether regional, national or international to present their papers proposals with the objective of sharing ideas, work methodologies and results that give more light to the evolution of living standards from a historical perspective.


The deadline for sending abstracts (200-300 words) is October 15th and the acceptance will be communicated by the end of October 2018.

Abstracts should be sent to:;