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tendency for higher education to be associated with choice of nonfactory occupations. This tendency is consistent with the existence of more numerous and varied employment opportunities in the San Juan area. However, it is interesting that the more educated groups in the other areas did not at least express a preference for white collar or other more prestigeful employment. The disregard in which manual labor is held in most Latin cultures, including Puerto Rico, would lead one to expect many more workers to express hope for escape into occupations carrying greater status. The failure to do so may be a sign of realism in appraising the probable employment opportunities. Alternatively, the pattern of choice may indicate a belief that factory employment in itself is a significant advance over earlier expectations or previous employment, so that satisfaction with the current status is experienced and further advances are not considered likely.

Participation of Women in the Industrial Labor Market

It might be argued that the participation of women in industrial employment is of only marginal interest since they are more likely to enter the market as supplementary wage earners rather than as breadwinners, their involvement is likely to be temporary, and therefore they are less likely to develop a commitment to the market. However,

the radical change in the economic status of women and their reactions to the opportunities that have appeared justify some elaboration.

We have noted that the appearance of factory employment opportunities was directly responsible for drawing a majority of the women in our sample into the active labor force. The significance of this response to the expanding opportunities is considerable, in view of the cultural obstacles to full labor force participation by women. In Latin societies woman's place has traditionally been in the home, where she can perform the duties of her sex and where she remains sheltered from the worldly eye of the community at large. It is not surprising that at the earliest stages of the expansion, and particularly in the smaller and less cosmopolitan towns, the new employment opportunities were regarded with some suspicion by the conservative elders and husbands. Some employers reported that before women were permitted to take jobs in their plants, the morality of the factory and the management had to be established. Furthermore, once women had taken such jobs, it was a familiar sight to see an unmarried daughter escorted to and from the factory by another family member, in order to protect her reputation and honor. This practice appears to have been abandoned quite soon after factory employment of women had become a more common phenomenon, however.

A greater obstacle to the entry and commitment of women to the industrial labor market has been the inherent threat to the customary role of husbands and other male family members. The disparate income levels in manufacturing and other activities meant that women factory workers' incomes often exceeded those of the male breadwinners by a considerable margin. In a society in which the male role is a strongly dominant one, this reversal of income roles has sometimes resulted in tensions. In some cases husbands or fiancés have insisted that the woman quit her job, demonstrating a preference for foregoing income in order to re-establish the man's dominant role as the principal source of household support. While some women have acceded to such demands, it also seems that there has been a large measure of successful resistance. In our plant study, during which we were able to discuss the subject more fully with women, we found that some men had reacted to women's resistance by demanding that the women either quit their jobs or assume the main burden of financial support of the household. If the women persisted, the men then felt free to withdraw a substantial part of their earnings from the family budget and to use these for their own personal ends, generally entertainment, in an assertion

of male prerogatives. The fact that women resist pressures to conform to their traditional role is significant and indicates their determination to retain the gains employment has brought them.

We do not have to look far for an explanation of the women's persistent involvement in the market. Economic reasons rank foremost, although only about 20 percent of the women, primarily divorcées or widows, were reported to be the sole support of their households. Another strong push toward entering and remaining in the market is the desire to escape the tedium of the home. In contrast to the restricted social opportunities available to most women who remain at home, the factory provides a social experience of great value, which reinforces the pull of an augmented income. Indeed, this social experience has sometimes been valued so highly that women have preferred to work even though their personal monetary gains have been small or the net effects of their contributions to family income have been limited by the men's diverting part of their earnings from the household budget. Finally, women have gained a new feeling of independence which, for some, has been important. These factors combine to provide positive motivation for continued involvement and commitment to an active labor force status. It was surprising to find the extent to which the women expressed a desire to continue working. Significantly, the desire was almost equally strong among all women, regardless of marital status. About 90 percent of the single women and 85 percent of the others expressed positive interest in continuing to work indefinitely. In terms of their attitudes toward industrial employment, women seemed to be no less committed than men. They liked factory work with equal intensity and generally foresaw their continued employment in industry. Of the women expressing an occupational choice for a time five years in the future, almost two thirds indicated some class of factory work (Table 8). However, there were sharper differences within the female sample based on education than there were among the men. Women who had completed more than 9 years of school showed strong preferences for clerical or other nonfactory occupations that were considered more prestigeful.

WORKERS' MARKET BEHAVIOR AND OTHER INDEXES

OF THE LEVEL OF COMMITMENT

A modern and mature industrial labor market is characterized by both mobility and stability. Stability derives from the fact that workers do not generally move in irregular fashion between the industrial and

nonindustrial sectors of the economy; nor is there constant and largescale exit from and re-entry into the labor force. At the same time there is mobility within the market as workers tend to move in response to differentials in wages and working conditions toward jobs that promise to maximize job utilities. The immature industrial labor market, on the other hand, may be characterized by frequent changes in workers' labor force status, as well as by an extremely high degree of movement among jobs within the market. Indeed, extreme job mobility in newly developing industrial labor markets is often believed to be indiscriminate or irrational, in an economic sense, and to be evidence of an inability of workers to adapt to the working conditions and discipline of factory employment.

Stability

In the preceding section we characterized our sample industrial labor force as one that appeared to be substantially committed to continued involvement in the industrial labor market. In this sense it fulfilled one requirement of a stable labor force. An additional basis for stability was the infrequency of repeated voluntary withdrawal from and reentry into the labor force. These sources of stability, however, do not ensure stability within the industrial sector or within individual firms, as can be demonstrated by the extreme variations in labor turnover among the firms surveyed. Their net turnover in 1953, computed as the ratio of replacements to the average number of production workers employed during the year, ranged from as low as 5 percent to well over 400 percent of the average number of production workers employed in the plant. While the high rates may suggest a singular absence of adaptation and commitment, the lower rates suggest precisely the

reverse.

The incidence of high turnover is not random among firms or industries. We believe that rational explanations of the diversity in turnover reported by firms can be found in their characteristics and management practices, as well as in the ends workers seek to realize by their interplant movements.

We found considerable evidence that workers' movements were influenced and guided by the structure of wage differentials. For 67 of the 85 plants we visited, adequate data were available for measuring and analyzing employment stability. Dividing these firms into three groups according to level of turnover, we found a striking inverse rela

154

as percent of

Absenteeism†

Median

Table 9. SAMPLE OF MANUFACTURING PLANTS IN PUERTO RICO, DISTRIBUTED BY TURNOVER, ABSENTEEISM, AND WAGE RATES, 1953

Net turnover

Average straight-time hourly earnings in cents

average plant

No. of

turnover

Low

Moderate

employment⚫

High

60

plants

rate

0-4%

4.1-7%

over 7%

25-39

40-49

50-59

and over

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3

9

3

8

3

10

52.2

4

6

5

4

9

5

1

183.6

4

6

13

10

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Replacements as percent of the average number of production workers employed during 1953 (average number employed
of 41 to 75 percent, moderately stable; and those over 75 percent, unstable.
on the first day of each month). Firms whose turnover rates range through 40 percent are considered stable; those with rates

rates could not be computed for 6 firms due to inadequate records.
Man-days lost for all reasons as percent of man-days scheduled (weekly average for 4 weeks in August 1953). Absenteeism

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