Current issue: 55(2)
The investigation studies the development of a logger’s daily earnings, a sawmill worker’s hourly earnings, saw timber stumpage prices and saw timber export prices, expressed in marks in Finland in 1913-1953, concentrating upon the trends of real value.
Although worker’s earnings in forestry and sawmilling have developed differently especially in the 1920s, the late 1930s and the early 1940s, their general long-time development has been very similar. On the other hand, the stumpage prices increased in real value much sharply than wages before the World War II. The real value of stumpage prices dropped because of economic regulation measures in the 1940s until regulation was abolished and the Korean War boom raised them in 1951, to fall after that. The development depends partly of the development of export prices for sawn timber.
Without changing the distribution of income from exports the real value of labour earnings, measured by export prices, may rise at most at a pace corresponding to the productivity of work. In logging there has been no actual increase in the productivity in the 20th century. As the increase in the productivity in timber transportation has probably been absorbed in increased wages and capital costs in the branch, a rise in forest labour’s real earnings and stumpage is possible only by means of a rise in the productivity of sawmilling or a change in the distribution of export income. It seems that from the end of World War I up to the middle of 1920s this increase of productivity and in export prices of sawn timber was shared only by capital and possibly mill labour. After that up to World War II stumpage prices rose so steeply that they swallowed the entire increase in productivity and reduced capital’s share of the export price. In the 40s the level of earnings followed the trend of productivity in industry, made possible by a sharp reduction in stumpage.
The Acta Forestalia Fennica issue 61 was published in honour of professor Eino Saari’s 60th birthday.
The PDF includes a summary in English.