IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience

  • Claudia Olivetti

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

Over the past several decades, married women?s hours of market work increased signi?cantly in the US. I argue that changes in behavior by married women with children account for much of this change. In particular, the pattern of married women?s work hours has changed substantially over the life-cycle. In the past, married women in childbearing age tended to specialize in childrearing and home production activities at the expense of engaging in market work. Now they do not curb the hours worked on the market. What factors contribute to this change in behavior? In this paper, I focus on relative changes in returns to experience as an explanation. I quantitatively assess how these changes in returns to experience contributed to changes in married women?s life cycle pro?les of hours worked. I build a life-cycle model with human capital accumulation and home production in which the basic unit of analysis is a married couple with children, and calibrate it using data from the 1970s and 1990s. I show that changes in returns to experience account for a large part of the observed variation. Moreover, according to the model, the increase in returns to experience accounts for roughly half of the increase in the female/male wage ratio that is found in the data. I also show that a decline in the gender wage gap, holding returns to experience constant, cannot explain the change in the shape of women?s life cycle pro?les. Although the focus of the analysis is the labor supply behavior of women, the model also allows predictions about the behavior of men and single women. These predictions are consistent with the data.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://people.bu.edu/olivetti/papers/RED_article.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series with number WP2005-008.

as
in new window

Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision: Jun 2006
Publication status: published, Review of Economic Dynamics 9, no. 4 (October 2006): 557-587.
Handle: RePEc:bos:macppr:wp2005-008
Contact details of provider: Postal:
270 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215

Phone: 617-353-4389
Fax: 617-353-4449
Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-99, July.
  2. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1994. "The Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
  4. Patricia M. Anderson & Philip B. Levine, 1999. "Child Care and Mothers' Employment Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Smith, James P & Ward, Michael P, 1985. "Time-Series Growth in the Female Labor Force," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S59-90, January.
  6. V. Joseph Hotz & Robert A. Miller, . "An Empirical Analysis of Life Cycle Fertility and Female Labor Supply," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 86-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  7. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Goldin, Claudia, 1989. "Life-Cycle Labor-Force Participation of Married Women: Historical Evidence and Implications," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 20-47, January.
  9. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709, December.
  11. Larry E. JONES & Rodolfo E. MANUELLI & Ellen R. McGRATTAN, 2015. "Why Are Married Women Working so much ?," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 75-114, March.
  12. José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Life-Cycle Economies and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 465-489.
  13. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  15. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, . "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Inocome," Penn CARESS Working Papers 65f9ffed93b3a872de23c94c2, Penn Economics Department.
  16. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
  17. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
  18. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
  20. 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.
  21. Altonji, Joseph G, 1986. "Intertemporal Substitution in Labor Supply: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S176-S215, June.
  22. 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.
  23. Marco Francesconi, 2002. "A Joint Dynamic Model of Fertility and Work of Married Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 336-380, Part.
  24. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  25. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  26. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  27. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sanchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-52, September.
  28. Francis Vella, 1998. "Estimating Models with Sample Selection Bias: A Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 127-169.
  29. Yoram Weiss & Reuben Gronau, 1981. "Expected Interruptions in Labour Force Participation and Sex-Related Differences in Earnings Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 607-619.
  30. O'Neill, June, 1985. "The Trend in the Male-Female Wage Gap in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S91-116, January.
  31. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  32. Robert Moffitt, 1984. "Profiles of Fertility, Labour Supply and Wages of Married Women: A Complete Life-Cycle Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 263-278.
  33. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 375-390.
  34. Joseph Hotz, V. & Klerman, Jacob Alex & Willis, Robert J., 1993. "The economics of fertility in developed countries," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 275-347 Elsevier.
  35. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1989. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply with Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 431-56, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bos:macppr:wp2005-008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gillian Gurish)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.