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The Baby Boom and World War II: The Role of Labor Market Experience

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  • Matthias Doepke
  • Moshe Hazan
  • Yishay Maoz

Abstract

The past century has witnessed major changes in the economic choices of American women. Over the long term, there has been a marked trend towards lower fertility and higher female labor force participation. However, change did not occur in a uniform fashion: during the post-war Baby Boom, fertility rates increased substantially, until the long-term downward trend reestablished itself in the 1960s. Similarly, the labor market participation of younger women declined for a while during the same period. What can explain these reversals? In this paper, we propose a joint explanation for these changes through a single shock: the demand for female labor during World War II. Many of the women of the war generation continued to work after the war. We argue that this crowded out younger women from the labor market, who chose to have more children instead

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2006 Meeting Papers with number 216.

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Date of creation: 03 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed006:216

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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Keywords: fertility; female labor supply; baby boom;

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References

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  1. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
  3. Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 557-587, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Michele Boldrin & Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2006. "From Busts to Booms in Babies and Godies," 2006 Meeting Papers 689, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Jones, Larry & Schoonbroodt, Alice, 2007. "Baby busts and baby booms: the response of fertility to shocks in dynastic models," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0706, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  3. Orman, Cuneyt & Goksel, Turkmen & Gurdal, Mehmet Y, 2011. "The Baby Boom, Baby Busts, and Grandmothers," MPRA Paper 28782, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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