Rubble Women: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Female Labor Market Outcomes

53 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2011

See all articles by Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Melanie Khamis

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Mutlu Yuksel

Dalhousie University; IZA

Abstract

During World War II, more than one-half million tons of bombs were dropped in aerial raids on German cities, destroying about forty percent of the total housing stock nationwide. With a large fraction of the male population gone, the reconstruction process had mainly fallen on women in postwar Germany. This paper provides causal evidence on long-term legacies of postwar reconstruction and mandatory employment on women's labor market outcomes. We combine a unique dataset on city-level destruction in Germany caused by the Allied Air Forces bombing during WWII with individual survey data from the German Microcensus. Using difference-in-difference and instrumental-variable strategies, we find that postwar mandatory employment reduced female labor force participation and hours worked in the long-run. However, our results show that participating in postwar reconstruction efforts increased the female presence in medium-skill and female-dominated occupations. These results survive after accounting for labor supply side factors such as wealth and savings loss during WWII, war relief payments and change in the composition of population and labor demand side factors such as female share in industry, construction, service and public sectors.

Keywords: postwar reconstruction, female labor force participation, occupational choice

JEL Classification: I21, I12, J24, N34

Suggested Citation

Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude and Khamis, Melanie and Yuksel, Mutlu, Rubble Women: The Long-Term Effects of Postwar Reconstruction on Female Labor Market Outcomes. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6148. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1968099

Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Melanie Khamis

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Mutlu Yuksel

Dalhousie University ( email )

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3J5
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://myweb.dal.ca/mt899590/

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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