Did Coal Miners “Owe Their Souls to the Company Store”? Theory and Evidence from the Early 1900s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although coal companies may have tried to exploit a local-store monopoly, company-store prices in nonunion areas were appreciably limited by competition from other stores and mines in the same labor market. Company stores persisted in part by lowering transactions costs. Prices at company stores were generally similar to those at nearby independent stores, and higher wages may have compensated for higher store prices at isolated mines. Conditions varied, however, with labor-market tightness. Miners were generally not in debt to the store, nor paid entirely in scrip. Scrip was an advance on payday, when miners received cash.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1011-1029
Number of pages19
JournalThe Journal of Economic History
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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