Northwestern Events Calendar


Economic History Lunch Seminar

When: Friday, May 8, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM  

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Economics   847.491.8200

Group: Department of Economics: Economic History Lunch Seminar

Category: Academic


Riccardo Marchingiglio (Northwestern University) - "The Economics of Gender-Specific Minimum-Wage Legislation"

Abstract: During the 1910's, twelve states passed and implemented the first minimum-wage laws in the history of the United States. These laws covered specific industries and only applied to female employees. We study the employment impact of these gender-specific minimum-wage laws, using full count Census data from 1880 to 1940. First, applying a triple-difference strategy exploiting variation across states, industries, and time to both the full sample of U.S. counties and the restricted group of contiguous county pairs, we estimate separate models for men and women, and we find that these laws led to a decrease in female employment and an increase in the employment of adult men. Second, guided by a simple labor demand setting, we estimate the average elasticity of substitution between male and female labor, and show that the two inputs were, on average, gross substitutes. Third, using a newly constructed longitudinal sample of linked Census records of women, we show that (1) married women were more likely to exit the labor force as a result of the decline in demand; (2) unmarried women switched to untreated industries; (3) the decline in labor demand did not induce significant migration patterns. Finally, we provide suggestive evidence of a long-run impact of gender-specific minimum-wage laws on female labor force participation, after the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

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