Why are Married Women Working so Much?

Posted: 1 Aug 2008

See all articles by Larry Jones

Larry Jones

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rodolfo Manuelli

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Community Economic Development

Ellen R. McGrattan

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department; University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 1, 2003

Abstract

We study the large observed changes in labor supply by married women in the United States over 1950-1990, a period when labor supply by single women has hardly changed at all. We investigate the effects of changes in the gender wage gap, technological improvements in the production of nonmarket goods and potential inferiority of these goods on understanding this change. We find that small decreases in the gender wage gap can explain simultaneously the significant increases in the average hours worked by married women and the relative constancy in the hours worked by single women, and single and married men. We also find that technological improvements in the household have-for realistic values-too small an impact on married female hours and the relative wage of females to males. Some specifications of the inferiority of home goods match the hours patterns, but have counterfactual predictions for wages and expenditure patterns.

Keywords: Hours of Work, Technological Improvements, Gender Wage Gap

JEL Classification: E24, J22

Suggested Citation

Jones, Larry E. and Manuelli, Rodolfo and McGrattan, Ellen R., Why are Married Women Working so Much? (June 1, 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1188903

Larry E. Jones (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rodolfo Manuelli

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Community Economic Development

Madison, WI
United States

Ellen R. McGrattan

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis - Research Department ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States
612-340-2587 (Phone)
612-340-2356 (Fax)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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