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Preference Formation and the Rise of Women's Labor Force Participation: Evidence from WWII

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  • Raquel Fernandez
  • Alessandra Fogli
  • Claudia Olivetti

Abstract

This paper presents intergenerational evidence in favor of the hypothesis that a significant factor explaining the increase in female labor force participation over time was the growing presence of men who grew up with a different family model--one in which their mother worked. We use differences in mobilization rates of men across states during WWII as a source of exogenous variation in female labor supply. We show, in particular, that higher WWII male mobilization rates led to a higher fraction of women working not only for the generation directly affected by the war, but also for the next generation. These women were young enough to profit from the changed composition in the pool of men (i.e., from the fact that WWII created more men with mothers who worked). We also show that states in which the ratio of the average fertility of working relative to non-working women is greatest, have higher female labor supply twenty years later.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10589.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10589

Note: EFG LS LE
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  1. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
  2. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra & Olivetti, Claudia, 2002. "Marrying Your Mom: Preference Transmission and Women's Labour and Education Choices," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
  4. 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, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
  5. Smith, James P & Ward, Michael P, 1985. "Time-Series Growth in the Female Labor Force," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S59-90, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Rob Euwals & Marike Knoef & Daniel Vuuren, 2011. "The trend in female labour force participation: what can be expected for the future?," Empirical Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 729-753, May.
  2. Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Culture and Institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Working Papers 292, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. World Bank, 2011. "Work and Family : Latin American and Caribbean Women in Search of a New Balance," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12489, The World Bank.
  4. Marcela Perticara, 2006. "Women’s Employment Transitions and Fertility," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines inv172, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  5. Eckstein, Zvi & Lifshitz, Osnat, 2009. "Dynamic Female Labor Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. David Bravo & Claudia Sanhueza & Sergio Urzua, 2008. "Is There Labor Market Discrimination among Professionals in Chile? Lawyers, Doctors and Businesspeople," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 3248, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Oriana Bandiera & Ashwini Natraj, 2013. "Does Gender Inequality Hinder Development and Economic Growth? Evidence and Policy Implications," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 28(1), pages 2-21, February.
  8. David Bravo & Claudia Sanhueza & Sergio Urzua, 2008. "Discriminación en el mercado laboral entre profesionales de Chile. Abogados, Médicos y gente de negocios," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 3249, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

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