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American Economic Review: Vol. 98 No. 4 (September 2008)

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Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model

Article Citation

Attanasio, Orazio, Hamish Low, and Virginia Sanchez-Marcos. 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model." American Economic Review, 98(4): 1517-52.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.4.1517

Abstract

This paper studies the life-cycle labor supply of three cohorts of American women, born in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. We focus on the increase in labor supply of mothers between the 1940s and 1950s cohorts. We construct a lifecycle model of female participation and savings, and calibrate the model to match the behavior of the middle cohort. We investigate which changes in the determinants of labor supply account for the increases in participation early in the life-cycle observed for the youngest cohort. A combination of a reduction in the cost of children alongside a reduction in the wage-gender gap is needed. (JEL D91, J16, J22, J31)

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Authors

Attanasio, Orazio (U College London and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
Low, Hamish (U Cambridge and Institute for Fiscal Studies)
Sanchez-Marcos, Virginia (U Cantabria)

JEL Classifications

D91: Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply
L31: Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs


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