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Wage Work for Women: The Menstrual Cycle and the Power of Water


  • Maimaiti, Yasheng

    () (Xinjiang University)

  • Siebert, W. Stanley

    () (University of Birmingham)


We hypothesise that women's participation in wage (off-farm) work is reduced when their greater water needs due to the menstrual cycle are not met because their household has poor access to water. For testing, we use the data from rural villages in China. Controlling for village fixed effects, poor access to water is found to decrease the probability of wage work participation of affected (pre-menopause) women by about 10 percentage points, a large effect. As expected, there is no adverse causal impact of poor household access to water for women post-menopause, or for men, ceteris paribus.

Suggested Citation

  • Maimaiti, Yasheng & Siebert, W. Stanley, 2010. "Wage Work for Women: The Menstrual Cycle and the Power of Water," IZA Discussion Papers 4776, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4776

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    More about this item


    wage work; women; menopause; water engineering; rural development; China;

    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
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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