IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Culture as Learning: The Evolution of Female Labor Force Participation over a Century

  • Raquel Fernandez


Registered author(s):

    Married women's labor force participation increased dramatically over the last century. I investigate the role of changes in culture arising from learning in this process. In the model, women hold (heterogeneous) beliefs regarding the long-run payoff of market work versus working at home. Beliefs evolve via an intergenerational learning process which generically generates an S-shaped figure for female LFP. I calibrate the model and show that it does a good job in replicating the historical evolution of female LFP in the US over 120 years. I find that the model's novel dynamic role for wages is quantitatively important.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 78.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:78
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
    2. Michael Burda & Daniel S. Hamermesh & Philippe Weil, 2007. "Total Work, Gender and Social Norms," NBER Working Papers 13000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Home Pages _068, University of Pennsylvania.
    4. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
    5. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
    6. Raquel Bernal, 2008. "The Effect Of Maternal Employment And Child Care On Children'S Cognitive Development," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1173-1209, November.
    7. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2003. "Engines of Liberation," RCER Working Papers 503, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    8. Raquel Bernal & Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Child Care Choices and Children's Cognitive Achievement: The Case of Single Mothers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 459 - 512.
    9. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521824019, October.
    10. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2002. "Social networks and technology adoption in Northern Mozambique," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3539, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2007. "Gender Roles and Technological Progress," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-029, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    12. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    13. Lones Smith & Peter Sorensen, 2000. "Pathological Outcomes of Observational Learning," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 371-398, March.
    14. Chamley,Christophe P., 2004. "Rational Herds," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521530927, October.
    15. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8650 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:4:p:1249-1299 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2009. "Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 80-107, January.
    18. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
    19. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8651 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Amador, Manuel & Weill, Pierre-Olivier, 2006. "Learning from Private and Public Observation of Other's Actions," MPRA Paper 109, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:3:p:917-961 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. George-Levi Gayle & Limor Golan, 2012. "Estimating a Dynamic Adverse-Selection Model: Labour-Force Experience and the Changing Gender Earnings Gap 1968--1997," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 227-267.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed009:78. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.