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Breadwinner or caregiver? - how household role affectslabor choices in Mexico

Author

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  • Cunningham, Wendy V.

Abstract

Recent volatility in the Mexican economy, has required households to alter patterns of participation in the labor force, voluntarily or not. The author uses panel data to examine patterns of labor force entry among adult men, and women with different household responsibilities, asking whether gender is a primary determinant, shaping these patterns. She finds that labor supply patterns are driven more by household role, than by gender. Heads of households, regardless of sex, behave similarly. Women who have neither spouses, nor children behave more like men, than like married women. They are also more likely than any other group to have inflexible, higher-paying jobs in the formal sector - which raises the question: Do employers discriminate, based on gender, or on household structure? She also detects a strong added-worker effect among secondary workers, a result not detected in the labor markets of developed countries that have social insurance programs. Finally she finds that wives'choice of sector during downturns, is subject to the households'earning needs, that husbands use informal wage, or contract employment as an employer of last resort, only in response to negative income shocks to the household, and that single mothers do not select the informal sector over the formal sector in response to either expected, or realized negative income shocks. The policy implications? Interventions that target women aren't necessarily appropriate, because women are heterogeneous. And programs that aid household heads - male or female - should be directed toward employment that will last beyond the economic shock.

Suggested Citation

  • Cunningham, Wendy V., 2001. "Breadwinner or caregiver? - how household role affectslabor choices in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2743, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2743
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Tim Maloney, 1987. "Employment Constraints and the Labor Supply of Married Women: A Reexamination of the Added Worker Effect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 51-61.
    8. Lundberg, Shelly, 1985. "The Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 11-37, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:idb:idbbks:238 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Cinthya Caamal Olvera., 2007. "Oferta Laboral en México: un enfoque de variables instrumentales," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 115-154, May.
    3. Amanda N. Ellis & María Beatriz Orlando & Ana Maria Muñoz Boudet & Claudia Piras & Maira Reimao & Jozefina Cutura & Judith Frickenstein & Ane Perez & Orsi de Castro, 2010. "Women's Economic Opportunities in the Formal Private Sector in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Focus on Entrepreneurship," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 17078, February.
    4. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Parker, 2006. "Job loss and family adjustments in work and schooling during the Mexican peso crisis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(1), pages 163-181, February.
    5. Lykke E. Andersen & Beatriz Muriel, 2007. "Informality and Productivity in Bolivia: A Gender Differentiated Empirical Analysis," Development Research Working Paper Series 07/2007, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    6. World Bank Group, 2015. "Bolivia," World Bank Other Operational Studies 23829, The World Bank.
    7. Emmanuel Skoufias & Renata Gukovas & Thiago Scot, 2016. "Cyclical Variations in Participation and Employment in Urban Brazil," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24952, The World Bank.

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