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Husband’s Unemployment and Wife’s Labor Supply: The Added Worker Effect across Europe


  • Julia Bredtmann
  • Sebastian Otten
  • Christian Rulff


This article investigates the responsiveness of women’s labor supply to their husband’s job loss—the so-called added worker effect. The authors contribute to the literature by taking an explicit internationally comparative perspective in analyzing the variation of the added worker effect across welfare regimes. Using longitudinal data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) survey covering 28 European countries from 2004 to 2013, they find evidence of an added worker effect, which, however, varies over both the business cycle and the different welfare regimes in Europe. The latter result might be explained, in part, by differences in the design of the unemployment benefit system across countries, which create different incentives for the labor supply of wives of unemployed men.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Bredtmann & Sebastian Otten & Christian Rulff, 2018. "Husband’s Unemployment and Wife’s Labor Supply: The Added Worker Effect across Europe," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 71(5), pages 1201-1231, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:71:y:2018:i:5:p:1201-1231

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    Cited by:

    1. Juan J. Dolado & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa & Linas Tarasonis, 2019. "The changing nature of gender selection into employment over the Great Recession," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 58, Bank of Lithuania.
    2. Jan Gromadzki, 2019. "The Added Worker Effect, Employment Contracts, and the Reasons for the Wife’s Inactivity," IBS Working Papers 02/2019, Instytut Badan Strukturalnych.
    3. Martin Halla & Julia Schmieder & Andrea Weber, 2020. "Job Displacement, Family Dynamics, and Spousal Labor Supply," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 253-287, October.
    4. Mindaugas Butkus & Kristina Matuzeviciute & Dovile Rupliene & Janina Seputiene, 2020. "Does Unemployment Responsiveness to Output Change Depend on Age, Gender, Education, and the Phase of the Business Cycle?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-1, November.
    5. Timo Baas & Farzaneh Shamsfakhr, 2017. "Times of crisis and female labor force participation - Lessons from the Spanish flu," EcoMod2017 10313, EcoMod.


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