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Trends in Market Work Behavior of Women since 1940


  • Mary T. Coleman
  • John Pencavel


The authors analyze the movements in work hours and employment of female employees as reported in Decennial Censuses from 1940 to 1980 and in Current Population Surveys from 1980 and 1988. Women with relatively little schooling were working fewer hours in the 1980s than in 1940; the reverse is true of well-educated women. These patterns remain when the data are disaggregated by marital status and the presence of children, and they are also little affected by controls for changes in real wages. In conjunction with results reported in the authors' parallel study on men (January 1993 ILR Review), these findings suggest that gender differences in work behavior are becoming less manifest than skill differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary T. Coleman & John Pencavel, 1993. "Trends in Market Work Behavior of Women since 1940," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 653-676, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:46:y:1993:i:4:p:653-676

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    Cited by:

    1. Zvi Eckstein & Osnat Lifshitz, 2011. "Dynamic Female Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(6), pages 1675-1726, November.
    2. Lozano, Fernando A., 2012. "What Happened to God's Time? The Evolution of Secularism and Hours of Work in America, Evidence from Religious Holidays," IZA Discussion Papers 6552, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Zvi Eckstein & Osnat Lifshitz, 2015. "Household Interaction And The Labor Supply Of Married Women," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 56, pages 427-455, May.
    4. Rob Euwals & Marike Knoef & Daniel Vuuren, 2011. "The trend in female labour force participation: what can be expected for the future?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 729-753, May.
    5. Anna S. Burger, 2015. "Extreme working hours in Western Europe and North America: A new aspect of polarization," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 92, European Institute, LSE.
    6. Sarah Damaske & Adrianne Frech, 2016. "Women’s Work Pathways Across the Life Course," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 365-391, April.
    7. Anna S. Burger, 2015. "Extreme Working Hours in Western Europe and North America: A New Aspect of Polarization," LIS Working papers 649, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    8. Huoying Wu, 2007. "Can The Human Capital Approach Explain Life‐Cycle Wage Differentials Between Races And Sexes?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(1), pages 24-39, January.
    9. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3143-3259 is not listed on IDEAS

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