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Official Labour Statistics: A Historical Perspective

Roger Davidson
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (Statistics in Society)
Vol. 158, No. 1 (1995), pp. 165-173
Published by: Wiley for the Royal Statistical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2983410
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2983410
Page Count: 9
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Official Labour Statistics: A Historical Perspective
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Abstract

This paper explores some of the social and economic forces shaping the development of official labour statistics in Britain a century ago. It examines the competing fears and ideologies that fuelled the demand for intelligence about the labour market and the major constraints on its provision, such as Treasury control, industrial resistance and the lack of co-ordination between the statistical branches of government. The broader impact of official labour statistics on social politics is discussed in both a British and an international context, with particular reference to the problems of industrial unrest, unemployment and low income destitution. The paper uses a historical perspective to demonstrate the continuing significance of past investigations to British labour statistics.

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