Looking at Image 1 below, please tell me if I have drawn the lines in Image 2 correctly.  If I have, please tell me: 1) Of the market equilibrium labor quantity calculated, how much was supplied...

Looking at Image 1 below, please tell me if I have drawn the lines in Image 2 correctly.  If I have, please tell me:

1) Of the market equilibrium labor quantity calculated, how much was supplied by males?

2) How do we find whether female/male workers were necessarily worse off as a result of the legislation? (Under the following assumption)

In the period between 1900 and 1920, many states in the U.S. passed laws restricting the number of hours that women could work, supposedly from concerns regarding the health and welfare of women workers and their children. Those most affected were new immigrant first-generation American women who were working long hours to establish themselves and their families in this country. We want to study the effects of this "protective" legislation.

According to the graph, which of the following is true?

  • Males were better off after the legislation.
  • Males were worse off after the legislation.
  • Males were no better or worse off after the legislation.

Asked on by halala

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I do not believe that your lines are drawn correctly.  The blue line that shows the demand for labor is drawn correctly.  So are the green line for the supply of women’s labor and the supply of men’s labor.  However, the red line for the total supply of labor is not correct.  The reason for this is that it shows that the total number of hours worked (by men and women) is less than the number of hours worked by men alone.  This does not make sense.  It does not make sense to say that employers will pay for fewer total hours when women enter the work force.  Therefore, it stands to reason that the line for the total supply of work should be to the right of the line showing the supply of men’s labor.  The line should cross the demand curve at a point 2,000 hours above (to the right) of the number of hours worked by men alone.  Thus, the men would be supplying all of the labor except for 2,000 hours.

Now for the question of how men are impacted by the law.  Men will clearly be somewhat better off after the law is passed.  The reason for this is because there is a lower supply of labor under the law than there would be if the law did not exist.  The laws of supply and demand tell us that a greater amount of supply will lead to a lower price.  When women enter the work force in unlimited numbers, the supply of labor increases and the price of labor drops.  This harms men.  Because the law limits the entry of women, it keeps the price of male labor artificially high, thus helping men.

Women, by contrast, are hurt by the law.  They are not able to work the number of hours that they want to.  This is not really a contradiction of the law because the law was not intended to help women economically.

Thus, we can see that this law hurts women in economic terms and helps men.

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halala | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I quite don't get what you mean by drawing the total labor supply to the right of the line for the men's labor. Is this correct?

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