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Working Paper Number SEHSD-2012-20
Liana Christin Landivar
Component ID: #ti1217801306


Economic theories, such as the added worker effect, indicate that married women enter the labor force to make up for lost earnings when their husbands become unemployed. This theory would be consistent with increased employment among the wives of those formerly employed in occupations that were hard‐hit by the recession. However, due to marital homogamy, men tend to be married to similar women with weak labor market prospects. This paper examines whether men and women employed or formerly employed in occupations that were hard‐hit by the recession were more likely to have employed partners after the recession. Using American Community Survey 2006 and 2010 data, I show that the added worker effect was evident among married women during the recession. Married women increased their labor force participation by 6 percentage points when their husbands were not employed. However, the added worker effect was strongest in wealthier households and among professional workers. Compared to those employed in management and professional occupations, individuals in other occupations were significantly more likely to have an unemployed spouse. The percentage of individuals with an employed spouse declined significantly in construction and production occupations and individuals in these occupations also experienced significant growth in dual‐unemployment and non‐employment. These results indicate that men with weak labor market prospects were married to women who had weak labor market ties and prospects, as well. As a result, those who should theoretically benefit more from the added worker effect are the least likely to be able to supplement the loss in family income with their partner’s earnings.

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