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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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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Zvi Eckstein, 2010. "Dynamic Female Labor Supply," 2010 Meeting Papers 223, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Jon Cohen & Michelle Alexopoulos, 2012. "The Media is the Measure: Technical change and employment, 1909-1949," 2012 Meeting Papers 301, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. 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.
  4. Melvyn G Coles & Marco Francesconi, 2013. "Equilibrium Search and the Impact of Equal Opportunities for Women," Economics Discussion Papers 742, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "Social Change: The Sexual Revolution," RCER Working Papers 550, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  6. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2010. "Maternal Health and the Baby Boom," NBER Working Papers 16146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Daysal, N. Meltem & Orsini, C., 2012. "The Miracle Drug: Hormone Replacement Therapy and Labor Market Behavior of Middle-Aged Women," Discussion Paper 2012-026, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2013. "Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp1204, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Claudia Olivetti, 2013. "The Female Labor Force and Long-run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital in History: The American Record National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  12. 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.

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