Abstract

The effect of head’s and wife’s educational attainment, health and the number of the head’s dependents under 18 on the amount of time spent in the labor force by white and black male heads of both poor and nonpoor families is investigated in this paper. The technique employed is multivariate regression analysis using disaggregated data from the 1967 Survey of Economic Opportunity. While educational attainment has a positive effect on the supply of labor of nonpoor heads, it has an insignificant effect on the black poor and a nonlinear effect on white poor heads. The health of head and wife has a very important effect on the ability of the poor to supply labor services while for the nonpoor the health effect is insignificant. For both the poor and nonpoor, there is a positive relationship between family size and the supply of labor. Evidence is also presented to indicate that the black husband’s and wife’s labor market activity are substitutes while they are complementary within white families.

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