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Reversals in the Patterns of Women's Labor Supply in the U.S., 1976-2009

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  • Macunovich, Diane J.

    ()
    (University of Redlands)

Abstract

Despite strong increases in women's labor force participation – especially among married women with children – in the 1980s, and somewhat less strong increases in the 1990s, the first decade of the twenty-first century has seen declines across the board. These have been especially marked among single women, women with no children, and women with more than 16 years of education. Single women with no children have experienced declines of 7.2, 6.2 and 3.6 percentage points since the late 1980s, among women with less than 16, 16, and more than 16 years of education, respectively. Own-wage elasticities have increased since 2000, after decreasing in the previous 20 years, and the absolute value of cross-wage elasticities has also increased, after declining for at least 20 years. Despite this, the absolute value of elasticities with respect to the presence of children has for the most part continued to decline. Measured factors cannot explain the marked declines in hours worked that have been observed, suggesting that while the labor supply function was hypothesized to have shifted to the right in the 1980s and 1990s, it has shifted back to the left since the late 1990s. And the characteristics of single and childless women dropping out of the labor force after 1999 have changed: they on average had worked more hours, earned more per hour, enjoyed less other income, and had fewer children, than those who had dropped out prior to 1999.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4512.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Monthly Labor Review, 2010, 133 (11), 16-36
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4512

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Related research

Keywords: effect of children on women's labor force participation; women's labor force participation; women's labor supply; opt-out revolution; women's own-wage elasticities;

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References

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  1. Chinhui Juhn & Simon Potter, 2006. "Changes in Labor Force Participation in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 27-46, Summer.
  2. Heather Boushey, 2005. "Are Women Opting Out? Debunking the Myth," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2005-36, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  3. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Claudia Olivetti, 2005. "Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience," Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series WP2005-008, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Jun 2006.
  6. Chinhui Juhn & Sandra E. Black, 2000. "The Rise of Female Professionals: Are Women Responding to Skill Demand?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 450-455, May.
  7. Bradley T. Heim, 2007. "The Incredible Shrinking Elasticities: Married Female Labor Supply, 1978–2002," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  8. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
  9. Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2006. "Changes in behavioral and characteristic determination of female labor force participation, 1975-2005," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 2, pages 1-20.
  10. Saul D. Hoffman, 2008. "The Changing Impact of Marriage and Children on Women’s Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 08-19, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2012. "The U.S. Employment-Population Reversal in the 2000s: Facts and Explanations," Economics Working Paper Archive 604, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  2. Jeff Larrimore & Richard V. Burkhauser & Philip Armour, 2013. "Accounting for Income Changes over the Great Recession (2007-2010) Relative to Previous Recessions: The Importance of Taxes and Transfers," NBER Working Papers 19699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sudipto Banerjee & David Blau, 2013. "Employment Trends by Age in the United States: Why Are Older Workers Different?," Working Papers wp285, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. Robert A. Moffitt, 2012. "The Reveral of the Employment-Population Ratio in the 2000s: Facts and Explanations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(2 (Fall)), pages 201-264.

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