Women's Labor Force Participation and Household Technology Adoption

62 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2020

See all articles by Gautam Bose

Gautam Bose

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Tarun Jain

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

Sarah Walker

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics

Date Written: January 8, 2020

Abstract

We examine how women's employment leads to household technology adoption in the context of mid-century United States. We posit that this relationship is strongest for households with low earning capacity whose consumption-leisure tradeoff crosses a threshold as women go to work. Using WWII factories to instrument for female labor demand, we find that a standard deviation increase in female labor force participation increases washing machine ownership by 0.44 standard deviations, which is driven primarily by counties in the lowest pre-war education quintile. Changes to household income, as well as the substitution of paid domestic labor with appliances, are important channels.

Keywords: Household technology, Women's labor force participation, Domestic labor, Twentieth-century United States

JEL Classification: J22, N32, O33

Suggested Citation

Bose, Gautam and Jain, Tarun and Walker, Sarah, Women's Labor Force Participation and Household Technology Adoption (January 8, 2020). UNSW Economics Working Paper 2020-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3520613 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3520613

Gautam Bose

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Tarun Jain

Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad ( email )

Vastraour
Ahmedabad, 380015
India

Sarah Walker (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Economics ( email )

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

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