The Netherlands, 1812-1929

ABSTRACT: During the nineteenth century, Dutch female labor force participation (FLFP) was relatively low. Most scholars argue that social norms and rising wages were driving this development. However, their conclusions principally apply to married women. We study unmarried women’s LFP (UFLFP) and investigate a third driver: shifting sectoral employment shares. We include all three drivers in a logistic regression based on nearly 2 million marriage records from 1812 to 1929.We conclude that social norms and income levels mattered, but that shifting sectoral employment shares were driving the decline in UFLFP because sectors with low demand for female laborers expanded.

AUTHORS: Corinne Boter and Pieter Woltjer

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Available at: Oxford University Press
Journal: European Review of Economic History, 2020, forthcoming
DOI: 10.1093/ereh/hez020
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