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The Legacy of the Missing Men: The Long-Run Impact of World War I on Female Labor Force Participation

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  • Victor Gay

Abstract

I explore the pathways underlying the diffusion of women's participation in the labor force across generations at the individual level. I rely on a severe exogenous shock to the adult sex ratio, World War I military fatalities in France, which generated a short-run upward shift in female labor force participation. I find that this shock to female labor transmitted across generations: women residing under the same institutional conditions but born in locations exposed to higher military death rates were more likely to be in the labor force from 1962 to 2012. Three primary mechanisms account for the long-run impact of World War I military fatalities on women's working behavior: vertical intergenerational transmission (from mothers and fathers to daughters), transmission through marriage (from husbands to wives, and from mothers in-law to daughters in-law), and oblique intergenerational transmission (from migrants to non-migrants). Consistent with theories of intergenerational diffusion of female labor force participation, I provide supporting evidence that WWI military fatalities altered preferences and beliefs about female labor in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Gay, 2017. "The Legacy of the Missing Men: The Long-Run Impact of World War I on Female Labor Force Participation," 2017 Papers pga905, Job Market Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:jmp:jm2017:pga905
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    Cited by:

    1. Jörn Boehnke & Victor Gay, 2022. "The Missing Men: World War I and Female Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 57(4), pages 1209-1241.
    2. Julia Cage & Anna Dagorret & Pauline Grosjean & Saumitra Jha, 2020. "Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Combat Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2020-11, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    3. Fernández, Raquel & Parsa, Sahar & Viarengo, Martina, 2019. "Coming Out in America: AIDS, Politics, and Cultural Change," IZA Discussion Papers 12360, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. repec:hal:wpspec:info:hdl:2441/55pdkeigq8vqqft6muev00u59 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Julia Cagé & Anna Dagorret & Pauline Grosjean & Saumitra Jha, 2023. "Heroes and Villains: The Effects of Heroism on Autocratic Values and Nazi Collaboration in France," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 113(7), pages 1888-1932, July.
    6. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/55pdkeigq8vqqft6muev00u59 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Barbara Boelmann & Anna Christina Raute & Uta Schönberg, 2021. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," CESifo Working Paper Series 9094, CESifo.
    8. Alix-Garcia, Jennifer & Schechter, Laura & Valencia Caicedo, Felipe & Jessica Zhu, S., 2022. "Country of Women? Repercussions of the Triple Alliance War in Paraguay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 202(C), pages 131-167.
    9. Barbara Boelmann & Anna Raute & Uta Schönberg, 2021. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 090, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    10. Wu, Jiabin & Zhang, Hanzhe, 2021. "Preference evolution in different matching markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    11. Boehnke, Jörn & Gay, Victor, 2020. "The Missing Men: World War I and Female Labor Force Participation," TSE Working Papers 20-1064, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    12. Gianluca Russo, 2018. "World War I and the Rise of Fascism in Italy," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-341, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised May 2020.

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    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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