NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Female Labor Supply: Why is the US Falling Behind?

Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn

NBER Working Paper No. 18702
Issued in January 2013
NBER Program(s):   LS

In 1990, the US had the sixth highest female labor participation rate among 22 OECD countries. By 2010, its rank had fallen to 17th. We find that the expansion of “family-friendly” policies including parental leave and part-time work entitlements in other OECD countries explains 28-29% of the decrease in US women’s labor force participation relative to these other countries. However, these policies also appear to encourage part-time work and employment in lower level positions: US women are more likely than women in other countries to have full time jobs and to work as managers or professionals.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18702

Published: Francine D. Blau and Lawrence M. Kahn. 2013. “Female Labor Supply: Why is the US Falling Behind? American Economic Review, 103 (3): 251-256.

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