Journal Article

Desertions in nineteenth-century shipping: modelling quit behaviour

Jari Ojala, Jaakko Pehkonen and Jari Eloranta

in European Review of Economic History

Volume 17, issue 1, pages 122-140
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 1361-4916
Published online February 2013 | e-ISSN: 1474-0044 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ereh/hes016
Desertions in nineteenth-century shipping: modelling quit behaviour

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Ship jumping in foreign ports was widespread throughout the age of sail. Desertion by seamen was illegal, it occurred abroad, and men who deserted only seldom returned home. We analyse desertion quantitatively and link it to the broader question of quit behaviour and labour turnover. Though the better wages paid at the foreign ports were the main reason for desertion, the regression model of the determinants of desertion indicates that outside opportunities, such as migration, and monetary incentives played a significant role in the nineteenth-century labour market, characterized by rather strict control over labour supply, working conditions, and terms of trade.

Journal Article.  9077 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Industrial History ; Labour History ; Economic History

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