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Female Labour Force Participation: The Enigma of the Interwar Period


  • Hatton, Timothy J.


This paper focusses on female labour force participation during the interwar period. The various forces which would be expected to determine long-term trends in participation are outlined, raising the question of why the upward trend in participation did not become firmly established before the Second World War. Tests of a labour supply function for females on data from the 1931 census indicate that demographic and household structure variables perform as might have been expected but these are dominated by measures of occupational structure. Both time series and cross-section estimates provide no support for the notion that female participation during the interwar period was restricted by high unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Hatton, Timothy J., 1986. "Female Labour Force Participation: The Enigma of the Interwar Period," CEPR Discussion Papers 113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:113

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
    2. Franklin Allen, 1984. "Reputation and Product Quality," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 311-327, Autumn.
    3. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
    4. Carl Shapiro, 1982. "Consumer Information, Product Quality, and Seller Reputation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 20-35, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eichengreen, Barry & Hatton, Tim, 1988. "Interwar Unemployment in International Perspective," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt7bw188gk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    2. Timothy J. Hatton & Roy >. Bailey, 2000. "Seebohm Rowntree and the postwar poverty puzzle," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 53(3), pages 517-543, August.
    3. Jessica S. Bean, 2015. "‘To help keep the home going’: female labour supply in interwar London," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(2), pages 441-470, May.


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