During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in Western countries such as the United States and Britain, women's economic situation was largely dictated by the legal framework within which economic activity took place. Some examples include the legal requirement, embedded within the common law of marriage, for wives to provide housework, childrearing, and sexual services to their husbands, in return for at least a minimal subsistence. Husbands were legally entitled to the wage earnings of working wives. Wives were, in effect, legal chattels. Women's labor supply decisions were restricted by “protective legislation” with respect to total hours worked, which hours, and in which occupations. Sex discrimination was legal, and women's wages were determined not by their productivity but by socially accepted norms, ...