Monday, April 22, 2013

The onset of female labor market participation and the role of the mothers

Jesus M Carro
(Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Department of Economics)

Abstract: Female labor participation has increased in most countries. Although the literature has advanced several explanations for this fact, the reasons for the onset of female labor market participation are not well understood. Among other factors, productivity differentials, and human capital accumulation have been proposed as fundamentals to understand the trends in female work status. Recently, economists have established that culture differences affect economic outcomes and in particular the levels of female labor force participation. Previous studies also showed that culture is transmitted from parents to children and, therefore, transitory shocks to preferences or beliefs may have long-run impacts on economic outcomes. To our knowledge, there are no studies which try to directly evaluate the role of intergenerational transmission of preferences and beliefs within the family in the onset of female labor market participation. We argue that intergenerational family data from parish records from the 18th and 19th century provide us with a nice opportunity to evaluate the importance of this mechanism for persistence in the work status of female workers. Using church registry data from several Portuguese settlements, we propose to estimate a reduced-form dynamic discrete choice model. Importantly, we address the problem of missing values, which so often affects historical records using a methodology recently proposed by Ramalho and Smith (2012). Preliminary results show a positive and statistically significant effect of the mother working status on the daughter’s probability of working across different model specifications. We interpret such an effect as evidence of intergenerational family transmission of preferences and/or beliefs.

Notice: Joint with ISEG2S
Monday, April 22, 2013
Time: 11h30
Room: Sala Delta, Edificio Quelhas, ISEG