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From Mill Town to Board Room: The Rise of Women's Paid Labor

  • Dora L. Costa

The widespread participation of women in paid labor outside of the home and in the highest echelons of society would have been unheard of a century ago. This paper documents this dramatic change in women's social and economic status and argues that it was determined both by contemporaneous demand factors and by the characteristics, expectations, and social norms regarding work and family of different cohorts of women. History suggests that change in women's labor force experiences may be slow because it must await the entry of new cohorts of women (and also of men) into the labor market.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 101-122

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:14:y:2000:i:4:p:101-122
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.4.101
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  8. Francine D. Blau & Marianne A. Ferber, 1991. "Career Plans and Expectations of Young Women and Men: The Earnings Gap and Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(4), pages 581-607.
  9. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
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  11. Robin L. Bartlett, 1998. "CSWEP: 25 Years at a Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 177-183, Fall.
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  15. Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-56, September.
  16. Jonathan Gershuny & John Robinson, 1988. "Historical changes in the household division of labor," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 537-552, November.
  17. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences Of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons From Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317, February.
  18. Kahn, Shulamit, 1993. "Gender Differences in Academic Career Paths of Economists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 52-56, May.
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