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Female labour force participation, infant mortality and fertility in Malaysia


  • Audrey K.L. Siah
  • Grace H.Y. Lee


In reviewing the population policy in 1984, the Malaysian government called for a major shift from family planning to family and human resource development to achieve an ultimate population of 70 million by 2100. However, regardless of the government's initiatives since 1984, Malaysia's fertility rate still declined. This study examines the short-run and long-run relationship and causality between female labour force participation rate, infant mortality rate and fertility in a developing country in Asia – Malaysia. We employ the unit root test which allows for two structural breaks, and the break dates are then used as dummy variables in the bounds testing procedure within an autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) modelling approach and Granger-causality test. The results indicate that mortality changes have a significant and positive long-run impact on fertility rate and women's child bearing decisions are unaffected by their employment situation. In addition, we do not find evidence that presence of children hinders re-employment and continuous female employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Audrey K.L. Siah & Grace H.Y. Lee, 2015. "Female labour force participation, infant mortality and fertility in Malaysia," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 613-629, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rjapxx:v:20:y:2015:i:4:p:613-629
    DOI: 10.1080/13547860.2015.1045326

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