A1 Journal article (refereed)
Poverty and Tax Exemptions in Mid-Nineteenth Century Finland (2017)

Voutilainen, M. (2017). Poverty and Tax Exemptions in Mid-Nineteenth Century Finland. Journal of Finnish Studies, 20(1), 67-96. https://doi.org/10.5406/28315081.20.1.04

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsVoutilainen, Miikka

Journal or seriesJournal of Finnish Studies



Publication year2017


Issue number1

Pages range67-96

PublisherSam Houston State University

Place of PublicationHuntsville

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/54788

Additional informationPoverty of the Beggar and a Nobleman : Experiencing and Encountering Impoverishment in Nineteenth-Century Finland. ISBN 978-1-937875-92-3.


The topic of this article is the nature and social character of Finnish rural poverty during the early stages of industrialization. Specifically, I analyze households exempted from two separate taxes in order to locate and study the rural poor. Contrary to several previous considerations deeming taxation sources unreliable in poverty studies, it is shown that under controlled settings tax exemption information does display promising features. These include a high exemption percentage of households without adult male members, small average household size of the tax exempted and a clear concentration of the exemptions on the lower rural social classes. My findings also highlight the fact that conclusions on the usability of the exemption information depend heavily on the selection of the tax studied. Taxes levied at individual level were not necessarily dependent on the households' economic status, and similarly household level taxes may have been independent of the inhabitants' social and economic conditions. On average, the exemption rates are in line with several accounts from pre-industrial Western Europe.

Keywordshistorypovertytaxessocial structurerural communities

Free keywordsFinland; 19th century; Century Finland

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2017

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-11-05 at 17:06