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Cultural Change as Learning: The Evolution of Female Labor Force Participation over a Century

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  • Raquel Fernández
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    Abstract

    This paper develops a learning model of cultural change to investigate why women's labor force participation (LFP) and attitudes toward women’s work both changed dramatically. In the model, women's beliefs about the long-run payoff from working evolve endogenously via an intergenerational learning process. This process generically generates the data's S-shaped LFP curve and introduces a novel role for wage changes via their effect on the speed of intergenerational learning. The calibrated model does a good job of replicating the evolution of female LFP in the United States over the last 120 years and finds that the new role for wages was quantitatively significant.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 472-500

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:1:p:472-500

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.1.472
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    Cited by:
    1. Katrin Elborgh-Woytek & Monique Newiak & Kalpana Kochhar & Stefania Fabrizio & Kangni Kpodar & Philippe Wingender & Benedict J. Clements & Gerd Schwartz, 2013. "Women, Work, and the Economy:Macroeconomic Gains from Gender Equity," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 13/10, International Monetary Fund.
    2. repec:hka:wpaper:2013-04 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Francesco Giavazzi & Ivan Petkov & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2014. "Culture: Persistence and Evolution," NBER Working Papers 20174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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