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The Effect of Household Appliances on Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Micro Data

  • Daniele Coen-Pirani
  • Alexis León
  • Steven Lugauer

In this paper we estimate the effect of household appliance ownership on the labor force participation rate of married women using micro-level data from the 1960 and 1970 U.S. Censuses. In order to identify the causal effect of home appliance ownership on married women's labor force participation rates, our empirical strategy exploits both time-series and cross-sectional variation in these two variables. To control for endogeneity, we instrument a married woman's ownership of an appliance by the average ownership rate for that appliance among single women living in the same U.S. state. Single women's labor force participation rates did not increase between 1960 and 1970. We find that the diffusion of home appliances accounts for about one-third of the observed increase in married women's labor force participation rates during the 1960's.

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File URL: https://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/wp/2008-E14.pdf
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Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 2008-E14.

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Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:407427706
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Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Web page: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/

Order Information: Web: http://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/GSIA_WP.asp

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  1. Cavalcanti, Tiago & Tavares, José, 2006. "Assessing the 'Engines of Liberation': Home Appliances and Female Labour Force Participation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5665, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Gender roles and technological progress," 2006 Meeting Papers 411, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 231-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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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  6. Taryn Dinkelman, 2011. "The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3078-3108, December.
  7. Jennifer Hunt, 1997. "The Transition in East Germany: When is a Ten Point Fall in the Gender Wage Gap Bad News?," NBER Working Papers 6167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-77, June.
  10. Aakvik, Arild & Heckman, James J. & Vytlacil, Edward J., 2005. "Estimating treatment effects for discrete outcomes when responses to treatment vary: an application to Norwegian vocational rehabilitation programs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 15-51.
  11. Kristin M. Roberts & Peter Rupert, 1995. "The myth of the overworked American," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Jan.
  12. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
  13. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  14. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  15. 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.
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