The Opt-Out Revolution: Recent Trends in Female Labor Supply

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Book Chapter


Economics (CMC)

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Using data from the U.S. Census in conjunction with data from the Current Population Survey (1980–2009), I find little support for the opt-out revolution – highly educated women, relative to their less-educated counterparts, are exiting the labor force to care for their families at higher rates today than in earlier time periods – if one focuses solely on the decision to work a positive number of hours irrespective of marital status or race. If one, however, focuses on both the decision to work a positive number of hours and the decision to adjust annual hours of work (conditional on working), I find some evidence of the opt-out revolution, particularly among white college educated married women in male-dominated occupations.


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