The Effect of Household Appliances on Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Micro Data
In this paper we estimate the effect of household appliance ownership on the labor force participation rate of married women using micro-level data from the 1960 and 1970 U.S. Censuses. In order to identify the causal effect of home appliance ownership on married women's labor force participation rates, our empirical strategy exploits both time-series and cross-sectional variation in these two variables. To control for endogeneity, we instrument a married woman's ownership of an appliance by the average ownership rate for that appliance among single women living in the same U.S. state. Single women's labor force participation rates did not increase between 1960 and 1970. We find that the diffusion of home appliances accounts for about one-third of the observed increase in married women's labor force participation rates during the 1960's.
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