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Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000

Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn

No 2180, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Using March Current Population Survey (CPS) data, we investigate married women’s labor supply behavior from 1980 to 2000. We find that their labor supply function for annual hours shifted sharply to the right in the 1980s, with little shift in the 1990s. In an accounting sense, this is the major reason for the more rapid growth of female labor supply observed in the 1980s, with an additional factor being that husbands’ real wages fell slightly in the 1980s but rose in the 1990s. Moreover, a major new development was that, during both decades, there was a dramatic reduction in women’s own wage elasticity. And, continuing past trends, women’s labor supply also became less responsive to their husbands’ wages. Between 1980 and 2000, women’s own wage elasticity fell by 50 to 56 percent, while their cross wage elasticity fell by 38 to 47 percent in absolute value. These patterns hold up under virtually all alternative specifications correcting for: selectivity bias in observing wage offers; selection into marriage; income taxes and the earned income tax credit; measurement error in wages and work hours; and omitted variables that affect both wage offers and the propensity to work; as well as when age groups, education groups and mothers of small children are analyzed separately.

Keywords: wages; labor supply; married women (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 64 pages
Date: 2006-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab and nep-ltv
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (8)

Published - published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2007, 25(3), 393-438

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Related works:
Journal Article: Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000 (2007) Downloads
Working Paper: Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000 (2005) Downloads
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