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Rubble Women: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Female Labor Market Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude

    () (Dalhousie University)

  • Khamis, Melanie

    () (Wesleyan University)

  • Yuksel, Mutlu

    () (Dalhousie University)

Abstract

During World War II, more than one-half million tons of bombs were dropped in aerial raids on German cities, destroying about forty percent of the total housing stock nationwide. With a large fraction of the male population gone, the reconstruction process had mainly fallen on women in postwar Germany. This paper provides causal evidence on long-term legacies of postwar reconstruction and mandatory employment on women's labor market outcomes. We combine a unique dataset on city-level destruction in Germany caused by the Allied Air Forces bombing during WWII with individual survey data from the German Microcensus. Using difference-in-difference and instrumental-variable strategies, we find that postwar mandatory employment reduced female labor force participation and hours worked in the long-run. However, our results show that participating in postwar reconstruction efforts increased the female presence in medium-skill and female-dominated occupations. These results survive after accounting for labor supply side factors such as wealth and savings loss during WWII, war relief payments and change in the composition of population and labor demand side factors such as female share in industry, construction, service and public sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Khamis, Melanie & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2011. "Rubble Women: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Female Labor Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6148, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6148
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Klasen, 2016. "Gender, Institutions, and Economic Development: Findings and Open Research and Policy Issues," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 211, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    2. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Khamis, Melanie & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2013. "For Better or for Worse: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Family Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 7239, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2012. "Gender and the Economic Impacts of War," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2012-008, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    4. Merle Kreibaum & Stephan Klasen, 2015. "Missing Men: Differential Effects of War and Socialism on Female Labour Force Participation in Vietnam," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 181, Courant Research Centre PEG.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    postwar reconstruction; female labor force participation; occupational choice;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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