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The Service Sector and Female Market Work: Europe vs the US

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  • Michelle Rendall

    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

This paper studies cross-country differences in female employment and aggregate labor market hours over time, by quantifying the role of structural transformation and gender differences in sectoral labor productivity. Some countries have developed large service sectors, while others have not. These sectoral patterns can explain a large part of the cross-country differences in female employment and aggregate hours worked. Empirical evidence on why women predominately work in the service sector is provided. Consistent with previous studies, labor and consumption tax differences are able to explain large sectoral differences across countries. The key is households can produce a substitute for market services and women are, on average, less productive in sectors requiring more brawn, such as industry, giving them a comparative advantage to stay at home and work in the service sector. Therefore, an economy that imposes high taxes does not facilitate the movement of women into the labor market, causing service production to remain at home. This reduces the demand for market services, which feeds back into low total hours worked by women (and the total economy). Subsidies to female employment can circumvent the high tax effect, but lead to welfare loses.

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  • Michelle Rendall, 2013. "The Service Sector and Female Market Work: Europe vs the US," 2013 Meeting Papers 1202, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:1202
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2018. "Taxation and Labour Supply of Married Couples across Countries: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(3), pages 1543-1576.
    2. Chakraborty, Indraneel & Holter, Hans A. & Stepanchuk, Serhiy, 2015. "Marriage stability, taxation and aggregate labor supply in the U.S. vs. Europe," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-20.
    3. Du Rietz, Gunnar & Henrekson, Magnus & Waldenström, Daniel, 2012. "Swedish Inheritance and Gift Taxation, 1885–2004," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2012:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 04 Aug 2015.
    4. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1-44, October.
    5. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2014. "Gender gaps across countries and skills: Demand, supply and the industry structure," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 842-859, October.
    6. Herrendorf, Berthold & Rogerson, Richard & Valentinyi, Ákos, 2014. "Growth and Structural Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 855-941, Elsevier.
    7. Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & David Lagakos, 2018. "How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(1), pages 170-199, January.
    8. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2016. "The Evolution of Gender Gaps in Industrialized Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 405-434, October.
    9. Rendall, Michelle, 2013. "Structural Change in Developing Countries: Has it Decreased Gender Inequality?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 1-16.
    10. Bick, Alexander & Brüggemann, Bettina & Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola & Paule-Paludkiewicz, Hannah, 2019. "Long-term changes in married couples' labor supply and taxes: Evidence from the US and Europe since the 1980s," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 44-62.
    11. Claudia Olivetti, 2014. "The Female Labor Force and Long-Run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 161-197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Devaraj, Srikant & Patel, Pankaj C., 2021. "Change in psychological distress in response to changes in reduced mobility during the early 2020 COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence of modest effects from the U.S," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 270(C).
    13. Claudia Olivetti & Rachel Ngai, 2015. "Structural Transformation and the U-Shaped Female Labor Supply," 2015 Meeting Papers 1501, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Michael Bar & Moshe Hazan & Oksana Leukhina & David Weiss & Hosny Zoabi, 2018. "Why did rich families increase their fertility? Inequality and marketization of child care," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 427-463, December.
    15. Moro, Alessio & Tanaka, Satoshi, 2019. "Sectoral shocks and home substitution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 57-60.
    16. Dürnecker, Georg & Herrendorf, Berthold, 2014. "On the Allocation of Time," Working Papers 14-09, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    17. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2016. "Home productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 60-76.
    18. Alessio Moro & Solmaz Moslehi & Satoshi Tanaka, 2017. "Does Home Production Drive Structural Transformation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 116-146, July.
    19. Tendai Zawaira & Manoel Bittencourt & Matthew W. Clance, 2018. "Gender Inequality and Marketisation Hypothesis in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 201876, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    20. Francisco Perez-Arce & Maria J. Prados & Tarra Kohli, 2018. "The Decline in the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Working Papers wp385, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    21. Aysegul Sahin & Stefania Albanesi, 2013. "Jobless Recoveries and Gender Biased Technological Change," 2013 Meeting Papers 985, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    22. Bick, Alexander & Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola & Lagakos, David, 2016. "How do Average Hours Worked Vary with Development? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 11092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & David Lagakos & Alexander Bick, 2015. "Measuring and Explaining International Differences in Hours Worked," 2015 Meeting Papers 592, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    24. Brussevich, Masha, 2018. "Does trade liberalization narrow the gender wage gap? The role of sectoral mobility," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 305-333.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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