Intercountry Comparisons of Labor Force Trends and of Related Developments: An Overview
This paper is a survey of analyses of women's labor force growth in 12 industrialized countries, originally presented at the conference in Sussex, England in June 1983. The main focus of the conference papers and of the current survey is on growth of the labor force of married women in the years 1960-1980. Trends in fertility, family mobility, and wages also receive attention as related developments. Married women's labor force growth was observed in all countries,expect for the USSR after 1970, when labor force rates of women reached the level of men. Growth rates differ among countries. They apparently respond to growth in real wages and/or to growth in education, but response elasticities differ among countries. Estimates of these elasticities contained in the country paper were helpful in predicting the trends. Other findings include: Ubiquitous declines in fertility and growth of divorce in the 1970s. Both developments are related to longer ran labor force growth. In all countries wages of women were lower than wages of men.The 1960 average gap of 38% narrowed to 29% in 1980. Factors related to these trends, including public policy, are discussed in the survey.
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