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The Household Revolution: Childcare, Housework,and Female Labor Force Participation

Emanuela Cardia () and Paul Gomme ()

No 11006, Working Papers from Concordia University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Over the twentieth century, the amount of time that married women devoted to working in the market increased dramatically. This paper explores the implications for the allocation of womens' time stemming from: (1) the durable goods revolution associated with the introduction of new technologies, from running water to modern appliances, that significantly reduced the time demands of home production; (2) the increase in the relative wage of women, from roughly $50$\% to over $80$\%; and (3) changes in childcare requirements associated with changes in fertility patterns. To do so, we construct a life-cycle model with home production and childcare constraints. The parameters of the childcare production function are chosen to match micro evidence from U.S.\@ time use data. We find that the increase in the relative wage of women is the most important explanation of the increase in married womens' market work time over the twentieth century. Increases in relative wages and decreases in fertility can also explain a large part of the observed decrease in housework. The model finds that the the declining price of durable goods has an appreciable effect only since 1980.

Keywords: Household Technology; Childcare; Women Labor Force Participation; Home Production (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D13 E24 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011-12-12, Revised 2012-07-19
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Downloads: (external link)
http://paulgomme.github.io/household-revolution.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: The Household Revolution: Childcare, Housework, and Female Labor Force Participation (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The Household Revolution: Childcare, Housework, and Female Labor Force Participation (2013) Downloads
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