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Life-Cycle Labor-Force Participation of Married Women: Historical Evidence and Implications

  • Goldin, Claudia

The seven-fold increase, since 1920, in the labor force participation rate of married women was not accompanied by a substantial increase in average work experience among employed married women. Two data sets giving life-cycle labor-force histories for cohorts of women born from the 1880s to 1910s indicate considerable (unconditional) heterogeneity in labor-force participation. Employed married women had substantial attachment to their jobs; increased participation brought in women with little prior work experience. Average work experience among cross sections of employed married women increased from 9.1 to 10.5 years over the 1930-50 period. Implications for "wage discrimination" are discussed.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 2656816.

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Date of creation: 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Labor Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2656816
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  1. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
  2. Ben-Porath, Yoram, 1973. "Labor-Force Participation Rates and the Supply of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 697-704, May-June.
  3. Jacob Mincer, 1962. "Labor Force Participation of Married Women: A Study of Labor Supply," NBER Chapters, in: Aspects of Labor Economics, pages 63-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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