The recognition of a relationship between the size of a nation’s population and its potential labour force has long been accepted by economists. When Adam Smith (1970, p. 62) expressed the view that the prosperity of a country was dependent upon the increase in the number of its inhabitants, he was acknowledging the relationship between economic change and demographic change. Therefore in examining the changing significance of the female component of the labour force during the twentieth century, in either Britain or the USA, demographic changes need to be considered.
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