Advanced

Indigenous Real Wages and Standards of Living in Colonial Bechuanaland Protectorate, 1900-1960

Bolt, Jutta and Hillbom, Ellen LU (2013) Swedish Economic History Meeting, 2013
Abstract
The economic history of colonial Bechuanaland has generally been under researched. In this article we aim at redeeming this situation by constructing real wage series for various occupations 1900-1960 using records from the colonial archives. We calculate nominal wages, subsistence consumption baskets and real wages. Our mapping means that we fill an existing knowledge gap. Throughout the text we continuously compare our results to the growing strand of literature on real wages and welfare standards in colonial Africa. Our study shows that Bechuanaland could serve as a ‘typical’ colony representative of Southern Africa with levels of real wages somewhat higher than those of East Africa, but lower than West Africa. We reflect on three... (More)
The economic history of colonial Bechuanaland has generally been under researched. In this article we aim at redeeming this situation by constructing real wage series for various occupations 1900-1960 using records from the colonial archives. We calculate nominal wages, subsistence consumption baskets and real wages. Our mapping means that we fill an existing knowledge gap. Throughout the text we continuously compare our results to the growing strand of literature on real wages and welfare standards in colonial Africa. Our study shows that Bechuanaland could serve as a ‘typical’ colony representative of Southern Africa with levels of real wages somewhat higher than those of East Africa, but lower than West Africa. We reflect on three divides captured by the real wage series: the urban-rural, public private and skilled-unskilled. We conclude that while the urban-rural divide is almost non-existing and the skill-unskilled divide is small in relative terms, wages in the public sector are forging ahead of the private sector in a significant way. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
unpublished
subject
keywords
Botswana, Bechuanaland, colonial era, real wages
conference name
Swedish Economic History Meeting, 2013
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
703de285-7a43-4ef1-8d2c-0eba5db15a66 (old id 4194952)
date added to LUP
2013-12-12 11:15:31
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:09:39
@misc{703de285-7a43-4ef1-8d2c-0eba5db15a66,
  abstract     = {The economic history of colonial Bechuanaland has generally been under researched. In this article we aim at redeeming this situation by constructing real wage series for various occupations 1900-1960 using records from the colonial archives. We calculate nominal wages, subsistence consumption baskets and real wages. Our mapping means that we fill an existing knowledge gap. Throughout the text we continuously compare our results to the growing strand of literature on real wages and welfare standards in colonial Africa. Our study shows that Bechuanaland could serve as a ‘typical’ colony representative of Southern Africa with levels of real wages somewhat higher than those of East Africa, but lower than West Africa. We reflect on three divides captured by the real wage series: the urban-rural, public private and skilled-unskilled. We conclude that while the urban-rural divide is almost non-existing and the skill-unskilled divide is small in relative terms, wages in the public sector are forging ahead of the private sector in a significant way.},
  author       = {Bolt, Jutta and Hillbom, Ellen},
  keyword      = {Botswana,Bechuanaland,colonial era,real wages},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Indigenous Real Wages and Standards of Living in Colonial Bechuanaland Protectorate, 1900-1960},
  year         = {2013},
}