Trends in Women's Labour Force Participation in Australia: 1984 - 2002
AbstractWomen's workforce participation increased strongly over the 1980s and 1990s, with the increases being generally larger for married than non-married women, and with the increases being especially large in middle age, as shown by ABS data. Multivariate analysis of IsssA data covering this period shows that there is actually rather little time trend per se. Instead, underlying the apparent shift over time, there are large compositional changes in the female population and there is a strong ""birth cohort or ""vintage"" effect such that succeeding cohorts of women have higher propensities to work throughout their lives than did their predecessors. Among the compositional changes, the strong rise in women's educational attainments and the large decline in fertility both exert substantial influences elevating women's workforce participation and hours worked. There were no evident time effects associated with particular policy initiatives, but some of these are too colinear with time to analyse separately. We tested many interactions with time to assess in particular whether the effects of education and of family situation are declining over time, but no significant interactions with time were found. Thus, for example, there are now many more highly educated women, leading to higher rates of women's employment overall, but the relative importance of education has not changed significantly. Similarly, there are now more childless women, and women with children have fewer of them, so declining fertility has elevated employment, but the impacts of childlessness and of diverse family sizes have not changed, according to these models. Finally, note that we tested a number of potential effects of the family of origin, but none was significant, suggesting that analyses of women's labour force participation and hours worked using datasets that lack these variables probably do not suffer from omitted variables bias."
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2004n23.
Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 2100
Fax: +61 3 8344 2111
Web page: http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/
More information through EDIRC
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-11-30 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gregory, R G & McMahon, P & Whittingham, B, 1985. "Women in the Australian Labor Force: Trends, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S293-309, January.
- Miller, Paul W & Volker, Paul A, 1983. "A Cross-Section Analysis of the Labour Force Participation of Married Women in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 59(164), pages 28-42, March.
- Young, C M, 1975. "A Note on Demographic Influences on the Economic Contribution of Wives and Children during the Family Life Cycle," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 51(133), pages 84-92, March.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jenny Chen).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.