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Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model

  • Orazio Attanasio
  • Hamish Low
  • Virginia Sanchez-Marcos

This paper studies the life-cycle labor supply of three cohorts of American women, born in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. We focus on the increase in labor supply of mothers between the 1940s and 1950s cohorts. We construct a lifecycle model of female participation and savings, and calibrate the model to match the behavior of the middle cohort. We investigate which changes in the determinants of labor supply account for the increases in participation early in the life-cycle observed for the youngest cohort. A combination of a reduction in the cost of children alongside a reduction in the wage-gender gap is needed. (JEL D91, J16, J22, J31)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.98.4.1517
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/sept08/20040372_data.zip
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1517-52

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:4:p:1517-52
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.4.1517
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  1. Greenwood, Jeremy & Seshadri, Ananth, 2005. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1225-1273 Elsevier.
  2. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 1996. "Female Labour Supply and Marital Status Decisions: A Life-Cycle Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 199-235.
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  12. Iza Padilla, María Amaya & Ferrero Martínez, Dolores, 2002. "Skill premium effects on fertility and female labor force supply," DFAEII Working Papers 2002-15, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
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  15. 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.
  16. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2001. "The Timing of Births: A Marriage Market Analysis," Penn CARESS Working Papers 49355d43c11f2314075e8b54e, Penn Economics Department.
  17. Sumru Altuğ & Robert A. Miller, 1998. "The Effect of Work Experience on Female Wages and Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 45-85.
  18. Juan Carlos Conesa, 2002. "Educational attainment and timing of fertility decisions," Working Papers in Economics 78, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
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