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The Rise in Female Participation in Colombia: Fertility, Marital Status or Education?


  • Diego Amador
  • Raquel Bernal


  • Ximena Peña



Colombia has experienced a secular increase in the labor participation of urban women, going from nearly 47% in 1984 to 65% in 2006. We decompose the evolution of participation into changes in the composition of the population and changes in the participation rates by groups (defined according to the variables that appear most relevant: educational attainment, fertility and marital status). The increase in participation is driven by the increase in the participation rate of married or cohabiting women and women with low educational attainment. Fertility status appears to be less important. Changes in the population composition by educational attainment are also relevant in explaining the increase in participation. However, changes in composition by marital status or fertility are second order effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Diego Amador & Raquel Bernal & Ximena Peña, 2013. "The Rise in Female Participation in Colombia: Fertility, Marital Status or Education?," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010551, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:010551

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen Elisa Flórez & Victoria Eugenia Soto, 2007. "La fecundidad y el acceso a los servicios de salud reproductiva en el contexto de la movilidad social en América Latina y el Caribe," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 004012, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Camilo Mondragón-Vélez & Ximena Peña & Daniel Wills, 2010. "Labor Market Rigidities and Informality in Colombia," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2010), pages 65-101, August.
    3. Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2011. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and the Geography of Female Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1103-1138, July.
    4. Carrasco, Raquel, 2001. "Binary Choice with Binary Endogenous Regressors in Panel Data: Estimating the Effect of Fertility on Female Labor Participation," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(4), pages 385-394, October.
    5. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    6. Ximena Peña, 2006. "Assortative Matching and the Education Gap," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 002032, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    7. Arango Luis E. & Carlos E. Posada, 2007. "Labor Participation of Married Women in Colombia," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, October.
    8. Marco Francesconi, 2002. "A Joint Dynamic Model of Fertility and Work of Married Women," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 336-380, Part.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2015. "Estado de salud y participación laboral: Evidencia para Colombia," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 012497, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    2. Leonardo Gasparini & Mariana Marchionni & Nicolás Badaracco & Joaquín Serrano, 2015. "Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: Evidence of Deceleration," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0181, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    3. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2016. "Health status and labor force participation: evidence for urban low and middle income individuals in Colombia," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 15(1), pages 33-55, April.
    4. Ximena Peña & Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Hugo Ñopo & Jorge Luis Castañeda, 2013. "Mujer y movilidad social," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010498, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Natalia Ramírez Bustamante & Ana Maria Tribin Uribe & Carmiña O. Vargas, 2015. "Maternity and Labor Markets: Impact of Legislation in Colombia," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 012610, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    6. Iván Bornacelly, 2013. "Educación técnica y tecnológica para la reducción de la desigualdad salarial y la pobreza," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, June.
    7. Camila Uribe Mejía, 2014. "Bancarización y Empoderamiento Femenino," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 011001, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    8. Leonardo Gasparini & Mariana Marchionni, 2015. "Bridging Gender Gaps? The Rise and Deceleration of Female Labor Force Participation in Latin America: An overview," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0185, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

    More about this item


    Gender; Labor Force Participation; Colombia;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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