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Rubble Women: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Female Labor Market Outcomes

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Author Info

  • Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude

    ()
    (Dalhousie University)

  • Khamis, Melanie

    ()
    (Wesleyan University)

  • Yuksel, Mutlu

    ()
    (Dalhousie University)

Abstract

During World War II, more than one-half million tons of bombs were dropped in aerial raids on German cities, destroying about forty percent of the total housing stock nationwide. With a large fraction of the male population gone, the reconstruction process had mainly fallen on women in postwar Germany. This paper provides causal evidence on long-term legacies of postwar reconstruction and mandatory employment on women's labor market outcomes. We combine a unique dataset on city-level destruction in Germany caused by the Allied Air Forces bombing during WWII with individual survey data from the German Microcensus. Using difference-in-difference and instrumental-variable strategies, we find that postwar mandatory employment reduced female labor force participation and hours worked in the long-run. However, our results show that participating in postwar reconstruction efforts increased the female presence in medium-skill and female-dominated occupations. These results survive after accounting for labor supply side factors such as wealth and savings loss during WWII, war relief payments and change in the composition of population and labor demand side factors such as female share in industry, construction, service and public sectors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6148.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6148

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Keywords: postwar reconstruction; female labor force participation; occupational choice;

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  1. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  2. Nidhiya Menon & Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, 2010. "War and Women’s Work: Evidence from the Conflict in Nepal," Working Papers 19, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  3. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1999. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1024b9z8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
  6. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 7860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
  8. Eissa, Nada & Liebman, Jeffrey B, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-37, May.
  9. Shemyakina, Olga N., 2011. "The labor market, education and armed conflict in Tajikistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5738, The World Bank.
  10. David Card & Dean R. Hyslop, 2005. "Estimating the Effects of a Time-Limited Earnings Subsidy for Welfare-Leavers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1723-1770, November.
  11. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2006. "Examining the Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on the Labor Market Participation of Families on Welfare," NBER Working Papers 11968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude, 2009. "Children of War: The Long-Run Effects of Large-Scale Physical Destruction and Warfare on Children," IZA Discussion Papers 4407, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Cited by:
  1. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Khamis, Melanie & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2013. "For Better or for Worse: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Family Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 7239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2012. "Gender and the Economic Impacts of War," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2012-008, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.

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