Pigor i sämre hushåll

Tjänstehjonsstadgan och den informella ekonomins storlek i 1700-talets Stockholm


  • Paul Borenberg Stockholms Universitet




Servants, Stockholm, Demography, Informal economy, Labour


The Swedish Servant Acts compulsed everyone without an occupation to take up service as a servant. However it is unclear to what extent this compulsion was actually enforced. Repeated complaints from the authorities give the impression that it was largely ignored. One suspicion was that people chose to live with relatives rather than taking service. A list compiled by the Stockholms authorities enables a quantification of mostly women who evaded service around 1755. The study shows that up to a fifth of all female servants were suspected of being live ins rather than employed as servants, and most of them problably earned their living in the informal sector of the urban economy. A comparison with tax registers reveals that these people were accounted for. In conclusion, while historical scholarship is dependent upon ample source material, this study suggests that a good part of the servant population was recorded in tax registers, but that the nature of their service might not have been properly accounted for, and that many servants provided for themselves on an extensive informal economy of the city which is difficult to quantify.


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