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Piecework forms of hiring workers in the landowner’s household of the Tambov Governorate at the late 19th century


We describe the working conditions of piecework workers of landowner’s household of Tambov Governorate at the late 19th century. We analyze the specifics of early forms of employment, the amount of wages, and the relationship between the employee and the employer. The relevance of the research is determined by the need to fill the historiographical gap in the study of working conditions of piecework workers, its significance for the development of the landowner’s household after the abolition of serfdom. The novelty of the work is determined by a comprehensive study of agricultural hiring in landowner’s economies, consideration of both collective and individual forms of employment of piecework workers. The source for this work was the materials describing large Tambov estates, collections of statistical data on the Tambov Governorate. It is shown that piecework workers received money for performing a strictly defined task by mutual agreement with the landowner. Such workers could be employed in different areas of the landowner’s household. At the same time, it is established that the economic format of the absolute majority of piecework workers in Tambov economies was associated with the procedure of returning the debt to the landowner. This allowed to reduce the amount of real payments to piecework workers. Based on the study of workers’ labor, it is revealed that in addition to the monetary form of advance hiring for field work, the region also widely practiced the in-kind form of payment, secured by lease agreements for the sublease of land. It was found that the winter hiring of workers and the reduction of wages created the ground for abuse of hired workers.


large-scale land ownership; landowner’s household; entrepreneurship; Tambov Governorate; hired workers

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National history

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