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Do Labor Market Opportunities Affect Young Women's Work and Family Decisions? Experimental Evidence from India

  • Robert Jensen
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    Do labor market opportunities for women affect marriage and fertility decisions? We provided three years of recruiting services to help young women in randomly selected rural Indian villages get jobs in the business process outsourcing industry. Because the industry was so new at the time of the study, there was almost no awareness of these jobs, allowing us in effect to exogenously increase women's labor force opportunities from the perspective of rural households. We find that young women in treatment villages were significantly less likely to get married or have children during this period, choosing instead to enter the labor market or obtain more schooling or postschool training. Women also report wanting to have fewer children and to work more steadily throughout their lifetime, consistent with increased aspirations for a career. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 127 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 753-792

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:2:p:753-792
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    1. Oded Galor, 2004. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409003, EconWPA.
    2. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2010. "Microeconomic Approaches to Development: Schooling, Learning, and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 81-96, Summer.
    3. Oded Galor, 2005. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 494-504, 04/05.
    4. Jishnu Das & Stefan Dercon & James Habyarimana & Pramila Krishnan & Karthik Muralidharan & Venkatesh Sundararaman, 2011. "School Inputs, Household Substitution, and Test Scores," NBER Working Papers 16830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
    6. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548.
    7. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
    8. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1998. "An Analysis of the Impact of Sample Attrition on the Second Generation of Respondents in the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 300-344.
    9. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2010. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Working Papers 990, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    10. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094.
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