The Gender Division of Labor and Structural Transformation: Industrializing Japan


Gender differences in labor opportunities can accentuate urban-rural wage gaps if laborers are married and must co-move. We study urban-rural migration in the context of a silk boom, which increased rural women’s incomes, in industrializing Japan, 1910-20. We use large variation in silk cocoon prices, due to its perishability, and an IV approach to show areas with high silk cocoon prices experienced lower out-migration among not only women but also men. This led to a relative decline in male wages, but they remained to maximize household incomes. These findings show that gender divisions of labor can delay structural transformations.


If you have any questions regarding the seminar, please contact the seminar organizers Tim Maurer or Camilla Nesfossen Hopsdal