NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century

Daron Acemoglu, David H. Autor, David Lyle

NBER Working Paper No. 9013
Issued in June 2002
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS

This paper investigates the effects of female labor supply on the wage structure. To identify variation in female labor supply, we exploit the military mobilization for World War II, which drew many women into the workforce as males exited civilian employment. The extent of mobilization was not uniform across states, however, with the fraction of eligible males serving ranging from 41 to 54 percent. We find that in states with greater mobilization of men, women worked substantially more after the War and in 1950, though not in 1940. We interpret these differentials as labor supply shifts induced by the War. We find that increases in female labor supply lower female wages, lower male wages, and increase the college and premium and male wage inequality generally. Our findings indicate that at mid-century, women were closer substitutes to high school graduate and relatively low-skill males, but not to those with the lowest skills.

download in pdf format
   (520 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the November 2002 NBER digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

This paper is available as PDF (520 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9013

Published: Acemoglu, Daron, Davidh. Autor and David Lyle. "Women, War, And Wages: The Effect Of Female Labor Supply On The Wage Structure At Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, 2004, v112(3,Jun), 497-551. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Goldin w3203 The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Work
Fernández, Fogli, and Olivetti w10589 Preference Formation and the Rise of Women's Labor Force Participation: Evidence from WWII
Goldin w11953 The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family
Goldin and Olivetti w18676 Shocking Labor Supply: A Reassessment of the Role of World War II on U.S. Women's Labor Supply
Doepke, Hazan, and Moaz w13707 The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us