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Addressing Declining Female Labor Force Participation in India: Does Political Empowerment Make a Difference?


  • Klaus Deininger
  • Songqing Jin
  • Hari K. Nagarajan
  • Sudhir K. Singh


Despite income growth, fertility decline, and educational expansion, female labour force participation in rural India dropped precipitously over the last decade. Nation-wide individual-level data allow us to explore if random reservation of village leadership for females affected women’s access to job opportunities, their demand for participation in the labour force, and income as well as intra-household bargaining in the short-and medium term. Gender reservation of local leadership affected female but not male participation in public works and regular labour markets, their income, and their influence on key household decisions with a lag, suggesting that such reservation affected social norms and stereotypes.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Deininger & Songqing Jin & Hari K. Nagarajan & Sudhir K. Singh, 2022. "Addressing Declining Female Labor Force Participation in India: Does Political Empowerment Make a Difference?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 58(9), pages 1772-1790, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:58:y:2022:i:9:p:1772-1790
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2022.2043278

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    Cited by:

    1. Hongyun Zheng & Yuwen Zhou & Dil Bahadur Rahut, 2023. "Smartphone use, off‐farm employment, and women's decision‐making power: Evidence from rural China," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 1327-1353, August.

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