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

Paul Gomme () and Emanuela Cardia ()

No 773, 2009 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: Throughout the 20th century home production was revolutionized by the introduction of new technologies, from running water to modern appliances, that significantly reduced the time de-mands of home production. This paper examines whether these changes can explain the important increase in the labor force participation of married women during the 20th century. It contributes to the existing literature by including childcare constraints consistent with U.S. time use data, to examine whether the durable good revolution can also explain the historical increases in the labor force participation rates of married women with children. One of the most remarkable change during the second half of the 20th century is the progressive flattening of the double-peaked pattern that characterized female participation over their life cycle in many industrialized countries.

Date: 2009
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