This paper provides estimates of wage dispersion in nineteenth-century Barcelona

and documents the compression of the pay distribution between 1856 and

1905. A decomposition of inequality changes by sector and gender leads to two

conclusions. First, that most of the changes occurred within each industry, of

which the textile industry stands out; and second, that although traditional

analyses of changes in earnings inequality tend to ignore female labour and

earnings arising from piecework, these seem to be, together with the new factory

discipline, the key factors in explaining shifts in earnings inequality in industrializing