1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Absenteeism

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ABSENTEEISM, a term used primarily of landed proprietors who absent themselves from their estates, and live and spend their incomes elsewhere; in its more extended meaning it includes all those (in addition to landlords) who live out of a country or locality but derive their income from some source within it. Absenteeism is a question which has been much debated, and from both the economic and moral point of view there is little doubt that it has a prejudicial effect. To it has been attributed in a great measure the unprosperous condition of the rural districts of France before the Revolution, when it was unusual for the great nobles to live on their estates unless compelled to do so by a sentence involving their "exile" from Paris. It has also been an especial evil in Ireland, and many attempts were made to combat it. As early as 1727 a tax of four shillings in the pound was imposed on all persons holding offices and employments in Ireland and residing in England. This tax was discontinued in 1753, but was re-imposed in 1769. In 1774 the tax was reduced to two shillings in the pound, but was dropped after some years. It was revived by the Independent Parliament in 1782 and for some ten years brought in a substantial amount to the revenue, yielding in 1790 as much as £63,089.

Authorities.—For a discussion of absenteeism from the economic point of view see N. W. Senior, Lectures on the Rate of Wages, Political Economy; J. S. Mill, Political Economy; J. R. McCulloch, Treatises and Essays on Money, &c., article "Absenteeism"; A. T. Hadley, Economics; on absenteeism in Ireland see A. Young, Tour in Ireland (1780); T. Prior, List of Absentees (1729); E. Wakefield, Account of Ireland (1812); W. E. H. Lecky, Ireland in the 18th Century (1892): A. E. Murray, History of the Commercial and Financial Relations between England and Ireland (1903); Parliamentary Papers, Ireland, 1830, vii., ditto, 1845, xix.-xxii.; in France, A. de Monchrétien, Traicté de l'œkonomie politique (1615); A. de Tocqueville, L'Ancien Régime (1857); H. Taine, Les Origines de la France contemporaine, l'ancien Régime (1876).