The Baby Boom and World War II: The Role of Labor Market Experience
The past century has witnessed major changes in the economic choices of American women. Over the long term, there has been a marked trend towards lower fertility and higher female labor force participation. However, change did not occur in a uniform fashion: during the post-war Baby Boom, fertility rates increased substantially, until the long-term downward trend reestablished itself in the 1960s. Similarly, the labor market participation of younger women declined for a while during the same period. What can explain these reversals? In this paper, we propose a joint explanation for these changes through a single shock: the demand for female labor during World War II. Many of the women of the war generation continued to work after the war. We argue that this crowded out younger women from the labor market, who chose to have more children instead.
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- Claudia Olivetti, 2005.
"Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience,"
Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series
WP2005-008, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Jun 2006.
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- Claudia Goldin, 1990.
"Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women,"
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1.
- Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709, March.
- Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000.
"Gender Differences in Pay,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
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