This chapter analyses the economic experience of married women in the pre-industrial German society under analysis in this book. It uses a database of work observations extracted from church-court records to explore the economic activities of married women, comparing them with those of other women (and men). The chapter explores alternative hypotheses explaining married women's work in terms of biological, technological, cultural, and institutional factors, including the impact of ‘social capital’. Finally, it analyses patterns of infant mortality, marital conflict, and consumption practices, with particular reference to theories of the early modern consumer and ‘Industrious’ Revolutions. The chapter concludes by using this evidence to explore the repercussions of married women's economic position on the women themselves and on the wider pre-industrial economy.
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