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Gender Roles and Medical Progress

Stefania Albanesi () and Claudia Olivetti ()

No 14873, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The entry of married women into the labor force is one of the most notable economic phenomena of the twentieth century. We argue that medical progress played a critical role in this process. Improved maternal health alleviated the adverse effects of pregnancy and childbirth on women's ability to work, while the introduction of infant formula reduced mothers' comparative advantage in infant feeding. We construct economic measures of these two dimensions of medical progress and develop a quantitative model that aims to capture their impact. Our results suggests that these advances, by enabling women to reconcile work and motherhood, were essential for the rise in married women's participation and the evolution of their economic role.

JEL-codes: E24 J16 J21 J22 N3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-his, nep-lab and nep-mac
Note: DAE EFG
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Published as Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2016. "Gender Roles and Medical Progress," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 000 - 000.

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Related works:
Journal Article: Gender Roles and Medical Progress (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Gender roles and medical progress (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Gender Roles and Medical Progress (2015) Downloads
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