Cultural Change as Learning: The Evolution of Female Labor Force Participation over a Century
This paper develops a learning model of cultural change to investigate why women's labor force participation (LFP) and attitudes toward womenâ€™s work both changed dramatically. In the model, women's beliefs about the long-run payoff from working evolve endogenously via an intergenerational learning process. This process generically generates the data's S-shaped LFP curve and introduces a novel role for wage changes via their effect on the speed of intergenerational learning. The calibrated model does a good job of replicating the evolution of female LFP in the United States over the last 120 years and finds that the new role for wages was quantitatively significant.
Volume (Year): 103 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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