DP113 | Female Labour Force Participation: The Enigma of the Interwar Period

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01/06/1986

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Abstract

This paper focusses on female labour force participation during the interwar period. The various forces which would be expected to determine long-term trends in participation are outlined, raising the question of why the upward trend in participation did not become firmly established before the Second World War. Tests of a labour supply function for females on data from the 1931 census indicate that demographic and household structure variables perform as might have been expected but these are dominated by measures of occupational structure. Both time series and cross-section estimates provide no support for the notion that female participation during the interwar period was restricted by high unemployment.