Work and Wellbeing in History


Principal investigators

Benjamin Schneider

Postdoctoral Researcher
Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet)
Year at CAS
Research Area
Economics /
History /
Social Sciences


The central question of historical social science is how and why human living conditions have changed, and research on present-day quality of life has recognized work as a fundamental part of wellbeing. However, historical accounts of wellbeing have neglected job quality, and there has been little dialogue between labor history and contemporary work research. The Historical Occupational Quality Index (HOQI), introduced in 2022, is the first tool for systematically describing, measuring, and comparing the quality of jobs in the past. The Work and Wellbeing in History project will bring together labor historians, economic historians, and labor economists to improve and extend the HOQI, and integrate historical and present-day job quality measurement.

We will develop a systematic approach to analyze historical workplaces, refine the criteria for analyzing qualitative aspects of work, and improve the weighting system for the HOQI components. We will also develop an approach to capture the quality of travel-to-work, construct a measure of career quality in the past, and compare historical and contemporary job quality indices. Robust approaches to measure job quality in the past will allow economists and historical social scientists to understand more about the determinants of good work in the long run, and they will enable analysis of how work-related wellbeing has contributed to the development of broader quality of life.




09 - 10

CAS event
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters