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Assessing The "Engines Of Liberation": Home Appliances And Female Labor Force Participation

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  • Tiago V. de V. Cavalcanti
  • José Tavares

Abstract

The secular rise in female labor force participation, highlighted in the recent macroeconomics literature on growth and structural change, has been associated with the declining price and wider availability of home appliances. This paper uses a new and unique country dataset on the price of home appliances to test its impact on female labor supply. We assess the role of the price of appliances in raising participation by comparing it to the impact of fertility and other macroeconomic factors. A decrease in the relative price of appliances - the ratio of the price of appliances to the consumer price index - leads to a substantial and statistically significant increase in female labor force participation. The impact of the price of appliances is quantitatively of the same order of magnitude as that of fertility. This result is robust to the inclusion of additional controls, such as income per capita, government spending, and male and female unemployment rates. To assess causality, we test for exogeneity and use the lagged relative price of appliances and the food price index as instrumental variables, confirming that lower appliance prices lead to increased female participation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics] in its series Anais do XXXII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 32th Brazilian Economics Meeting] with number 037.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:anp:en2004:037

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2002. "Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century," NBER Working Papers 9013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2002. "Engines of Liberation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 2, Economie d'Avant Garde.
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  19. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Baker Matthew J. & George Lisa M, 2010. "The Role of Television in Household Debt: Evidence from the 1950's," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, May.
  2. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Canuto, Otaviano & da Silva, Luiz Pereira, 2010. "On gender and growth : the role of intergenerational health externalities and women's occupational constraints," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5492, The World Bank.
  3. Joanna Alexopoulos & Tiago V. Cavalcanti, 2010. "Cheap home goods and persistent inequality," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 417-451, December.
  4. Kohlin, Gunnar & Sills, Erin O. & Pattanayak, Subhrendu K. & Wilfong, Christopher, 2011. "Energy, gender and development: what are the linkages ? where is the evidence ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5800, The World Bank.
  5. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Georgi Kocharkov & Cezar Santos, 2011. "Technology and the Changing Family: A Unified Model of Marriage, Divorce, Educational Attainment and Married Female Labor-Force Participation," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 18, Economie d'Avant Garde.
  6. Alexis Le�n, 2008. "The Effect of Household Appliances on Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Micro Data," Working Papers 355, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2009.
  7. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2013. "Changing Technologies of Household Production: Causes and Effects," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2013-004, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  8. Emanuela Cardia & Paul Gomme, 2013. "The Household Revolution: Childcare, Housework, and Female Labor Force Participation," Cahiers de recherche 08-2013, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  9. Pierre-Richard AGENOR & Otaviano CANUTO, 2012. "Access to Infrastructure and Women’s Time Allocation: Evidence and a Framework for Policy Analysis," Working Papers P45, FERDI.
  10. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2011. "The Role of Technological Change in Increasing Gender Equity with a Focus on Information and Communications Technologyy," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2011-007, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  11. Pierre-Richard AGENOR & Otaviano CANUTO, 2012. "Access to Infrastructure and Women’s Time Allocation: Evidence and a Framework for Policy Analysis," Working Papers P45, FERDI.
  12. Jeremy Greenwood, 2011. "Technology And The Changing Family," 2011 Meeting Papers 1420, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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