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Technological and Organizational Change and the Employment of Women: Early Twentieth-Century Evidence from the Ohio Manufacturing Sector

Marina Adshade and Ian Keay

Feminist Economics, 2010, vol. 16, issue 1, 129-157

Abstract: Using a data set that tracks the employment and wages of male and female production and clerical workers in Ohio from 1914 to 1937, this study finds that among manufacturing establishments, female employment and real wages rose rapidly throughout this period, particularly within clerical occupations. There were also substantial increases in the proportion of women in Ohio's manufacturing workforce, and women's wage increases kept pace with those of men. After matching the employment and wage data to input and output data from Ohio's manufacturing census, the study estimates the parameters for industry group translog production functions. The estimates indicate that Ohio's manufacturers adopted new organizational structures and technologies that favored an increasingly intensive use of female clerical labor. The study performs a counterfactual exercise that illustrates the extent to which non-neutral technological and organizational changes over this period explain the observed increases in the employment and remuneration of female clerical workers.

Keywords: Female labor-force participation; technological change; firm organization; clerical employment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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DOI: 10.1080/13545700903382711

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