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CEP discussion paper

Home computers and married women's labor supply

I consider how the availability of a personal computer at home changed employment for married women. I develop a theoretical model that motivates the empirical specifications. Using data from the U.S. CPS from 1984 to 2003, I find that employment is 1.5 to 7 percentage points higher for women in households with a computer. The model predicts that the increase in employment is driven by higher wages. I find having a computer at home is associated with higher wages, and employment in more computer intensive occupations, which is consistent with the model. Decomposing the changes by educational attainment shows that both women with low levels of education (high school diploma or less) and women with the highest levels of education (Master's degree or more) have high returns from home computers

Alexander C. Lembcke

5 March 2014     Paper Number CEPDP1260

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.