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Employment Decisions of Married Women: Evidence and Explanations


  • Daniela del Boca


  • Marilena Locatelli


  • Silvia Pasqua



Aggregate evidence has revealed a significant increase in women’s labour market participation (especially among married women) and a decline in male participation, both in Italy and in all the other OECD countries. In this paper, we empirically test the relationship between the education and employment status of husbands and wives using the Bank of Italy Survey (1995). The results of our analysis show that employed women are likely to be married to employed men with a higher level of education and higher income. The estimates of the labour supply decisions of wives show that the effect of the unemployment status of husbands is mediated by other factors associated with the family’s view of women working outside home. The response to a husband’s unemployment depends significantly on the employment decisions of parents (mothers and mothers-in-law), a proxy for the couple’s attitude towards women’s work.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela del Boca & Marilena Locatelli & Silvia Pasqua, 2000. "Employment Decisions of Married Women: Evidence and Explanations," CHILD Working Papers wp08_00, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpc:wplist:wp08_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Del Boca, Daniela & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2003. "Credit market constraints and labor market decisions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 681-703, December.
    2. Layard, R & Barton, M & Zabalza, A, 1980. "Married Women's Participation and Hours," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(185), pages 51-72, February.
    3. anonymous, 2000. "In this issue ..," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(4), pages 1-1.
    4. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 72-97, January.
    5. Jacobsen, Joyce P & Rayack, Wendy L, 1996. "Do Men Whose Wives Work Really Earn Less?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 268-273, May.
    6. Giannelli, Gianna & Micklewright, John, 1995. "Why Do Women Married to Unemployed Men Have Low Participation Rates?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(4), pages 471-486, November.
    7. anonymous, 2000. "In this issue ..," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 2(3), pages 1-1.
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    More about this item


    Employment; Decisions; Women;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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