A new book from economist Jeremy Greenwood looks at the effects of technological progress on home life.

Professor of Economics. Jeremy Greenwood’s new book “Evolving Households: The Imprint of Technology on Life” published in January 2019 by The MIT Press was excerpted and featured in an article in Penn Today How the appliance boom moved more women into the workforce.

“In the 1800s, the mother in most American households worked at home surrounded by an average of six children. In a world without running water, central heating, and electricity, housework was laborious. But then, the Second Industrial Revolution introduced electricity and labor-saving household appliances. Additionally, the value of physical strength declined as machinery took over strenuous tasks. 

It’s not a stretch to say that these developments changed the division of labor in the home, liberating married women from household tasks and leading to a dramatic increase in their labor-force participation. 

Economic models can shed light on this change and others, like the drop in fertility and baby boom, decline in marriage, women’s liberation, increase in premarital sex, upswing in life expectancy and health care expenditures, and movement toward longer retirement. All of these trends characterize a dramatic transformation of daily life made possible by technology.”

Read the full article: https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/how-appliance-boom-moved-more-women-workforce