A tale of 24 counties? Regional variation in female labour force participation in Sweden, 1870-1950

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Abstract

Female labor force participation increased significantly during the 20thcentury, not least in Sweden. In this paper, we investigate the importance of economic, demographic and sociocultural factors in the initial increase and growth of female labor force participationover the course of industrializationusing county-level data and panel regressions.There were important spatial differences across counties in the growth of women’s employment outside the home1870-1950. We showthatstructural factors (e.g. economic conditions and demographic characteristics) are important in explaining level differences between counties in the development of female labor force participation, net of cultural factors and unionization. Economic conditions do not seem to be as important in explaining changes in female labor force participation within counties over time when cultural differences and differences in unionization are accounted for. Sociocultural aspects of modernization and unionization were very important inthe increase in female labor force participation, both across and within counties.We argue that culture as well as geography are important, yet commonly neglected, parts of both the industrialization story and of the narrative into which we fit the increase in women’s paid work outside the home.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedNo
EventEconomic History Society - Queen's University, Belfast
Duration: 2019 Apr 52019 Apr 7

Conference

ConferenceEconomic History Society
CityBelfast
Period2019/04/052019/04/07