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Female labor force participation, inequality and household well-being in the Second Globalization. The Spanish case

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2016-06
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The 20th century has witnessed an increase in the female participation force in Western countries, especially since 1940s. Explanations behind the more intensive use of female labour are of different nature: globalization forces, the relative female/male wage linked to an increase in education and productivity, the tertiarization of the economy, and other institutional and cultural factors that allow women to control fertility, invest in assets other than the family ones and alter female bargaining power. Since these phenomena are complex and might respond to specific reasons and timing in different countries, it is important to advance on country case studies in a comparative basis. While in other Western countries the increase in female labor participation started to be significant in the 1960s and 1970s, Spanish female activity rates started to rise dramatically in the 1980s, concurrently with the deep integration of Spain in international markets, especially through the entry in the European Union in 1986. In this paper, we will analyze the reasons behind the decalage in female labor force participation in Spain after WWII in comparison with other Western countries, and the subsequent catching up from the 1980s in order to determine the level of influence of Spanish integration in international markets, as well as other economic, institutional and cultural factors.
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