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The Return on Women's Human Capital and the Role of Male Attitudes toward Working Wives: Gender Roles, Work Interruption, and Women's Earnings in Taiwan

Hwei-Lin Chuang and Hsih-yin Lee
The American Journal of Economics and Sociology
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Apr., 2003), pp. 435-459
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3487921
Page Count: 25
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The Return on Women's Human Capital and the Role of Male Attitudes toward Working Wives: Gender Roles, Work Interruption, and Women's Earnings in Taiwan
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Abstract

This study empirically investigates women's work interruption behavior in Taiwan and this behavior's influence on women's earnings. The most striking finding from our analysis of women's work history patterns is that a husband's negative attitude toward a working wife will more greatly discourage his wife from attaching to the labor market than will the presence of young children in the family. Thus, it is critical to educate men to give up their traditional attitudes toward gender roles in order to raise the female labor force participation rate in Taiwan. As to the effect of work interruption on earnings, a depreciation rate of 2.8% is found for women with at least a high-school level of education, while no penalty of foregone experience is shown for less-educated women. Since this depreciation effect may discourage women from re-entering the labor market, government programs encouraging self-employment should be helpful, as self-employed women find it easier to overcome the conflict between family obligations and work needs.

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