Why married women's labor supply in the Netherlands has increased

Wim Groot*, Hettie Pott-Buter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


On the basis of cross-section data sets for 1979 and 1987 we determine: 1) the relative contribution of changes in participation and in hours of work to the increase in married women's labor supply; 2) how much of the change in participation and hours of work is determined by changes in preferences and in budget constraints; and 3) the causes of changes in market wages and reservation wages. The increase in the average unconditional hours of work is much more due to the rise in the participation rate than to the increase in conditional hours of work. Preference changes have contributed positively to the increase in married women's labor force participation over the period 1979-1987, whereas changes in market opportunities have contributed negatively. The change in the market wage and the reservation wage can be attributed mainly to changes in the population structure of married women. Changes in the model structure contributed negatively to the change in the real market and the reservation wage. The positive effect of the change in the population structure dominates the negative effect of the model structure. Finally, participants in the labor market have a comparative wage advantage over non-participants. Non-participants are a self-selecting group with a relatively high reservation wage. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-255
Number of pages18
JournalDe Economist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


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