Women's Labor Force Participation and Household Technology Adoption
62 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 8, 2020
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: Suggested Citation