The extra burden of Moslem wives: clues from Israeli women's labor supply

S. Grossbard-Shechtman, S. Neuman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study offers a new way of interpreting religious differentials in the impact of women's education, age, number of children, husband's income, and husband's schooling on women's labor supply. Religious groups differ in the institutions they create to regulate marriage and dicorve. In Section II, we derive rules of inference that enable us to learn more about how such institutions influence women's (and men's) value of time in marriage, on the basis of patterns of labor supply. Section III applies our insights to a sample of Israeli women who belong to the three major religious groups in Israel: Jews, Moslems, and Christians. That section outlines the descriptive and statistical analysis and presents our findings. Our major finding is that the labor supply patterns of Christian Arab Israeli women resemble more closely those of Jewish women than those of Moslem Arab Israeli women. Given that such resemblance does not follow from institutional differences in labor markets, we conclude that institutional differences in marriage do play a role in explaining variations in labor supply across the religious groups. Our findings suggest that Moslem Israeli women living in a traditional setting find it relatively harder to translate their personal resources into a higher value of time in marriage than do Jewish or Christian women in Israel, that there are only minor differences in the value of time in marriage between Jewish and Christian women, and that the contrast between Moslem Israeli women and other Israeli women seens to dwindle at higher educational levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-517
Number of pages27
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998


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