The emergence of the housewife in the Netherlands over the period 1812-1922 was strongly influenced by the social norm that women should withdraw from the labour market on the eve of marriage. Adherence to this norm is most clearly reflected in the emergence of the housewife among the lower classes, especially at the close of the nineteenth century among wives of farmers. Women in urban municipalities, however, set the norm far earlier and differences across social classes were significantly greater in towns than in rural areas. Paradoxically, the rise of the housewife did not change work pressures for lower-class women.

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Keywords bread winner, division of labour, housewife, marriage, norms
JEL Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation (jel D13), Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure (jel J12), Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination (jel J16), Europe: 1913- (jel N34)
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Journal Economic History Review
van Poppel, F.W.A, van Dalen, H.P, & Walhout, E.C. (2009). Diffusion of a social norm: Tracing the emergence of the housewife in the Netherlands, 1812-1922. Economic History Review, 62(1), 99–127. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.2008.00433.x