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Why are married women working so much?

  • Larry E. Jones
  • Rodolfo E. Manuelli
  • Ellen R. McGrattan

We study the large observed changes in labor supply by married women in the United States over 1950-1990, a period when labor supply by single women has hardly changed at all. We investigate the effects of changes in the gender wage gap, technological improvements in the production of nonmarket goods and potential inferiority of these goods on understanding this change. We find that small decreases in the gender wage gap can explain simultaneously the significant increases in the average hours worked by married women and the relative constancy in the hours worked by single women, and single and married men. We also find that technological improvements in the household have-for realistic values-too small an impact on married female hours and the relative wage of females to males. Some specifications of the inferiority of home goods match the hours patterns, but have counterfactual predictions for wages and expenditure patterns.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 317.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:317
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  1. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709, March.
  2. Benhabib, Jess & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1991. "Homework in Macroeconomics: Household Production and Aggregate Fluctuations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1166-87, December.
  3. Rupert, Peter & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 2000. "Homework in labor economics: Household production and intertemporal substitution," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 557-579, December.
  4. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2000. "Women on Welfare: A Macroeconomic Analysis," RCER Working Papers 466, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Ellen McGrattan & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1995. "An equilibrium model of the business cycle with household production and fiscal policy," Staff Report 191, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, enero-jun.
  7. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
  8. 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.
  9. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi, 1991. "The Allocation of Capital and Time over the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1188-214, December.
  10. Coate, S. & Loury, G.C., 1992. "Will Affirmative Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Papers 3, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
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