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Abstract

This research uses four micro-data sets to examine differences in married women's labor force participation between Communist and post- Communist Czech Republic and Slovakia. Descriptive statistics show that participation has dropped in both regions following the regime change, particularly for young women. To explain this phenomenon, one hypothesis is that own and spouse wage elasticities of participation are the same during and after Communism and the behavior change results from different offered wages. An alternative hypothesis is that wage elasticities changed. We expect higher elasticities in the regime which offers a broader set of options to families making time allocation decisions. Rejecting the hypothesis that elasticities are unchanged, the analysis uses probits stratified by age to examine own and spouse earnings effects on participation. While own earnings effects rose after Communism in Slovakia, they dropped in the Czech Republic, suggesting that constraints on married women's participation decisions have increased there. Although earnings affect participation less after Communism, children have an increased effect, particularly for young women in the Czech Republic.

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