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Gender Roles and Medical Progress

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  • Stefania Albanesi
  • Claudia Olivetti

Abstract

The entry of married women into the labor force is one of the most notable economic phenomena of the twentieth century. We argue that medical progress played a critical role in this process. Improved maternal health alleviated the adverse effects of pregnancy and childbirth on women's ability to work, while the introduction of infant formula reduced mothers' comparative advantage in infant feeding. We construct economic measures of these two dimensions of medical progress and develop a quantitative model that aims to capture their impact. Our results suggests that these advances, by enabling women to reconcile work and motherhood, were essential for the rise in married women's participation and the evolution of their economic role.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14873.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14873

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  1. Albanesi, Stefania & Olivetti, Claudia, 2005. "Home Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," CEPR Discussion Papers 4984, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Stefania Albanesi, 2009. "Comment on "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 277-290 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Larry E. Jones & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "An Economic History of Fertility in the U.S.: 1826-1960," NBER Working Papers 12796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Claudia Olivetti & Stefania Albanesi, 2007. "Gender And Dynamic Agency: Theory And Evidence On The Compensation Of Female Top Executives," 2007 Meeting Papers 894, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ghazala Azmat & Barbara Petrongolo, 2014. "Gender and the Labor Market: What Have We Learned from Field and Lab Experiments?," CEP Occasional Papers 40, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Melvyn G. Coles & Marco Francesconi, 2013. "Equilibrium Search and the Impact of Equal Opportunities for Women," CESifo Working Paper Series 4556, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Claudia Olivetti, 2013. "The Female Labor Force and Long-run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective," NBER Working Papers 19131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Akbulut, Rahşan, 2011. "Sectoral Changes And The Increase In Women'S Labor Force Participation," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 240-264, April.
  5. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2010. "Social Change: The Sexual Revolution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 893-923, November.
  6. Claudia Olivetti & Stefania Albanesi, 2010. "Maternal Health and the Baby Boom," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2010-044, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  7. Zvi Eckstein & Osnat Lifshitz, 2011. "Dynamic Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1675-1726, November.
  8. Daysal, N. Meltem & Orsini, Chiara, 2014. "The Miracle Drugs: Hormone Replacement Therapy and Labor Market Behavior of Middle-Aged Women," IZA Discussion Papers 7993, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  10. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2014. "Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy," Discussion Papers 1404, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
  11. Jon Cohen & Michelle Alexopoulos, 2012. "The Media is the Measure: Technical change and employment, 1909-1949," 2012 Meeting Papers 301, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2013. "Gender gaps and the rise of the service economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51538, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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