The Legacy of the Missing Men. The Long-Run Impact of World War I on Female Labor Force Participation


This paper explores the pathways that underlie the diffusion of women’s participation in the labor force across generations. I exploit a severe exogenous shock to the sex ratio, World War I in France, which generated a large inflow of women in the labor force after the war. I show that this shock to female labor transmitted to subsequent generations until today. Three mechanisms of intergenerational transmission account for this result: parental transmission, transmission through marriage, and transmission through local social interactions. Beyond behaviors, the war also permanently altered beliefs toward the role of women in the labor force.

Victor Gay
Victor Gay
Assistant Professor

Assistant professor at Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), University of Toulouse 1 Capitole.