Women in the Economy
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)
- Chair: Belinda Archibong, Columbia University-Barnard College
Automation and the Fate of Young Workers: Evidence from Telephone Operation in the Early 20th Century
AbstractTelephone operation, one of the most common jobs for young American women in the early 1900s, provided hundreds of thousands of female workers a pathway into the labor force. Between 1920 and 1940, AT\&T adopted mechanical switching technology in more than half of the U.S. telephone network, replacing manual operation. We show that although automation eliminated most of these jobs, it did not affect future cohorts' overall employment: the decline in demand for operators was counteracted by growth in both middle-skill jobs like secretarial work and lower-skill service jobs, which absorbed future generations. Using a new genealogy-based census linking method, we show that incumbent telephone operators were most impacted by automation, and a decade later were more likely to be in lower-paying occupations or have left the labor force entirely.
Collateral Damage? How World War One Changed the Way Women Work
Abstract"Keywords: Female labor, World War I, census linking, micro data, France.
Drawing on individual-level data from 1911 and 1921 and census-linking techniques, we analyze the consequences of World War I in France on female labor force participation. First, we describe changes in the situations of individual women on the labor market immediately after the war, both in terms of participation and occupation. Second, we study the characteristics of working women before and after in order to understand changes in the composition of the female labor force. Third, and more importantly, we link the situations of women to the local mortality of men to investigate with an unprecedented precision the mechanisms that can explain changes in womenâ€™s labor market patterns: increased opportunities for women on the labor market, e.g. due to wartime industries, or sheer necessity, as women with less sources of income such as war widows were forced to become wage earners."
Were Children Always Normal? Historic Evidence from the WWI Agricultural Boom and Bust
AbstractUnderstanding the causal relationship between income and fertility has been a perennial topic since Becker (1960). While recent work has sought to causally identify the income-fertility relationship, relatively little empirical work has focused on households in developing agricultural settings. Beyond the oft-discussed consumption good trade-off between quantity and quality, parents working on a farm must consider how children will directly affect household productivity through their supply of farm labor. Using variation in crop prices caused by large swings in demand during World War I, we examine the fertility response to income in this understudied setting. Results using both complete count decennial census microdata and newly collected county-level data from state health reports indicate that doubling household income reduced fertility by around 8 percent both immediately and in the years following the boom.
- N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
- J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs