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Female labour force participation and labour saving gadgets

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  • Brishti Guha

Abstract

We show under what conditions women would migrate out of the household sector into formal sector jobs, in response to increased ability to use labour saving household gadgets, which raise the productivity of female labour engaged in household tasks. We model a small open economy with three outputs: one labour-intensive manufactured export (cloth), one capital-intensive intermediate good (gadgets) and one non-traded 'household-sector good' (meals) which requires both female labour and household gadgets for production. A terms-of-trade improvement capturing greater world demand for labour-intensive manufactured exports enables greater adoption of labour-saving household gadgets in response to changing relative prices. If the elasticity of substitution between female labour and household gadgets exceeds a threshold, this will result in women migrating from the household to formal sector employment. What matters is not the actual date of invention of these labour-saving appliances (female labour force participation may not grow significantly until long after) but their increased adoption by the small economy in response to changing relative prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Brishti Guha, 2005. "Female labour force participation and labour saving gadgets," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 483-495.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:14:y:2005:i:4:p:483-495
    DOI: 10.1080/09638190500372701
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
    2. Kristin Mammen & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Women's Work and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 141-164, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brishti Guha, 2006. "Green revolutions and miracle economies: Agricultural innovations, trade and growth," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 209-230.
    2. Brishti Guha, 2007. "Maids and mistresses : migrating maids and female labor force participation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(11), pages 1-9.

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