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Push or Pull? Drivers of Female Labor Force Participation during India's Economic Boom

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Author Info

  • Klasen, Stephan

    ()
    (University of Göttingen)

  • Pieters, Janneke

    ()
    (Wageningen University)

Abstract

In the past twenty years, India's economy has grown at increasing rates and now belongs to the fastest-growing economies in the world. This paper examines drivers of female labor force participation in urban India between 1987 and 2004, showing a much more nuanced picture of female labor force participation than one might expect. Recent trends in employment and earnings suggest that at lower levels of education, female labor force participation is driven by necessity rather than economic opportunities. Unit level estimation results confirm that participation of poorly educated women is mainly determined by economic push factors and social status effects. Only at the highest education levels do we see evidence of pull factors drawing women into the labor force at attractive employment and pay conditions. This affects, by 2004, only a small minority of India's women. So despite India's economic boom, it appears that for all but the very well educated, labor market conditions for women have not improved.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6395.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6395

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Keywords: female labor force participation; education; India;

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References

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  1. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Isis Gaddis & Stephan Klasen, 2011. "Economic Development, Structural Change and Women’s Labor Force Participation A Reexamination of the Feminization U Hypothesis," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 71, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 25 Jul 2012.
  3. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Arvind Virmani, 2006. "Sources of Growth in the Indian Economy," India Policy Forum, Global Economy and Development Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 3(1), pages 1-69.
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  7. Seguino, Stephanie, 2011. "Help or Hindrance? Religion's Impact on Gender Inequality in Attitudes and Outcomes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1308-1321, August.
  8. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2005. "Female Labor Supply As Insurance Against Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 755-764, 04/05.
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  12. Priebe, Jan, 2011. "Child Costs and the Causal Effect of Fertility on Female Labor Supply: An investigation for Indonesia 1993-2008," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 67, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Ali Fakih & Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in MENA’s Manufacturing Sector: The Implications of Firm-related and National Factors," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-46, CIRANO.
  2. Michelle Rendall, 2012. "Structural change in developing countries: has it decreased gender inequality?," ECON - Working Papers 077, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Filali Adib, Fatima-Zohra & Driouchi, Ahmed & Achehboune, Amale, 2013. "Education Attainment, Further Female Participation & Feminization of Labor Markets in Arab Countries," MPRA Paper 48516, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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