Econometric analysis of a hitherto unused 1896 survey of African-American families in American cities, mostly located in the South, reveals the classic added worker effect: Longer intervals of husbands' unemployment—not counting work missed on account of illness—led to a greater share of wives taking paid employment outside the home. The analysis also shows that household structure and composition, as well as the health of husbands, influenced the decision of wives to enter the labor force. The data and analysis provide some of first econometric evidence about the labor-force decisions of urban-dwelling blacks in late nineteenth-century America.

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