IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Dynamics of Women's Labour Supply in Developing Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Bhalotra, Sonia R.

    ()

    (University of Essex)

  • Umana-Aponte, Marcela

    ()

    (University of Bristol)

This paper investigates cyclicality in women's labour supply motivated by the hypothesis that it contributes to smoothing household consumption in environments characterized by income volatility. We use comparable individual data on about 1.1 million women in 63 developing and transition countries merged with country-level panel data on GDP during 1986-2006. The scope of these data is unprecedented in the small but growing literature on labour markets in developing countries. We find that the within-country relationship of women's employment and income is, on average, negative in Asia and Latin America but positive in Africa. We suggest that amongst reasons why African women behave differently are that the conventional family structure with income pooling is less the norm, there are fewer opportunities for paid employment, and aggregate income shocks are more closely tied to rainfall variation. The findings are robust to controls for country-specific trends and potentially correlated shocks. In Asia and Latin America, characteristics that strengthen counter-cyclical responses include low education, being married, being married to men with low education, low wealth, no landownings, rural residence and fertility. These findings suggest that insurance motives underpin the dynamics of women's work participation. Examination of cyclicality in the distribution of employment across types suggests that recessions in every region are associated with a rise in self-employment amongst women. In Asia and Latin America, there is a parallel rise in paid employment and a sharp drop in non-employment. In Africa, there is a decline in paid employment which overwhelms the rise in self-employment and this is how total employment comes to decline. The results have potentially important implications for understanding labour markets, fertility timing and child outcomes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp4879.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4879.

as
in new window

Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4879
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Eriksson, Tor & Bratsberg, Bernt & Raaum, Oddbjørn, 2005. "Earnings persistence across generations: Transmission through health?," Memorandum 35/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. Gong, Xiaodong & Van Soest, Arthur & Villagomez, Elizabeth, 2004. "Mobility in the Urban Labor Market: A Panel Data Analysis for Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 1-36, October.
  3. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
  4. James Heckman & Flavio Cunha, 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 31-47, May.
  5. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1980. "Unemployment as Disequilibrium in a Model of Aggregate Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 547-564, April.
  6. Duncan Thomas & Kathleen Beegle & Elizabeth Frankenberg, 2000. "Labor Market Transitions of Men and Women During an Economic Crisis: Evidence from Indonesia," Working Papers 00-11, RAND Corporation.
  7. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-1046, October.
  8. Durlauf, Steven N. & Johnson, Paul A. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2005. "Growth Econometrics," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 555-677 Elsevier.
  9. Miklós Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2007. "Volatility and Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 243-287.
  10. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
  11. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  12. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Timothy M. Watts, 2007. "Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," NBER Working Papers 12895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Antonio Ciccone, 2011. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: A Comment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 215-227, October.
  14. Melvin Stephens, 2002. "Worker Displacement and the Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 504-537, July.
  15. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
  16. Ciccone, Antonio, 2008. "Transitory Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict," CEPR Discussion Papers 7081, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  18. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  19. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Schady, Norbert, 2008. "Aggregate economic shocks, child schooling and child health," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4701, The World Bank.
  20. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman & Susanne M. Schennach, 2010. "Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 883-931, 05.
  21. Fogel, Robert W, 1994. "Economic Growth, Population Theory, and Physiology: The Bearing of Long-Term Processes on the Making of Economic Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 369-395, June.
  22. Sarah Baird & Jed Friedman & Norbert Schady, 2011. "Aggregate Income Shocks and Infant Mortality in the Developing World," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 847-856, August.
  23. Jacob Mincer, 1962. "Labor Force Participation of Married Women: A Study of Labor Supply," NBER Chapters,in: Aspects of Labor Economics, pages 63-105 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
  25. Sonia Bhalotra, 2007. "Is Child Work Necessary?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(1), pages 29-55, 02.
  26. Pritchett, Lant, 2000. "Understanding Patterns of Economic Growth: Searching for Hills among Plateaus, Mountains, and Plains," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 221-250, May.
  27. Johnson, Simon & Larson, William & Papageorgiou, Chris & Subramanian, Arvind, 2013. "Is newer better? Penn World Table Revisions and their impact on growth estimates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 255-274.
  28. Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2003. "Economic Crises and Natural Disasters: Coping Strategies and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1087-1102, July.
  29. Fields, Gary S, 1984. "Employment, Income Distribution and Economic Growth in Seven Small Open Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(373), pages 74-83, March.
  30. McKenzie, David J., 2003. "How do Households Cope with Aggregate Shocks? Evidence from the Mexican Peso Crisis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1179-1199, July.
  31. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2009. "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 183-204, January.
  32. Norman V. Loayza & Romain Rancière & Luis Servén & Jaume Ventura, 2007. "Macroeconomic Volatility and Welfare in Developing Countries: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(3), pages 343-357, October.
  33. Germano Mwabu & Martha Ainsworth & Andrew Nyamete, 1993. "Quality of Medical Care and Choice of Medical Treatment in Kenya: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 838-862.
  34. Lane, Philip R., 2003. "The cyclical behaviour of fiscal policy: evidence from the OECD," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2661-2675, December.
  35. Rose, Elaina, 2000. "Gender Bias, Credit Constraints and Time Allocation in Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(465), pages 738-758, July.
  36. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  37. Jan C. van Ours & Milan Vodopivec, 2006. "How Shortening the Potential Duration of Unemployment Benefits Affects the Duration of Unemployment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 351-378, April.
  38. 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.
  39. Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1996. "Wealthier is Healthier," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(4), pages 841-868.
  40. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Doblhammer, Gabriele & Christensen, Kaare, 2009. "Exogenous determinants of early-life conditions, and mortality later in life," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(9), pages 1591-1598, May.
  41. Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
  42. 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.
  43. Jonathan Gruber & Julie Berry Cullen, 1996. "Spousal Labor Supply as Insurance: Does Unemployment Insurance Crowd Outthe Added Worker Effect?," NBER Working Papers 5608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  44. Nicholas H. Stern, 1984. "Optimum Taxation and Tax Policy (Imposition optimale et politique fiscale) (Tributación óptima y política fiscal)," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 31(2), pages 339-378, June.
  45. Spletzer, James R, 1997. "Reexamining the Added Worker Effect," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 417-427, April.
  46. Tim Maloney, 1987. "Employment Constraints and the Labor Supply of Married Women: A Reexamination of the Added Worker Effect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(1), pages 51-61.
  47. Gindling, T H, 1993. "Women's Wages and Economic Crisis in Costa Rica," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 277-297, January.
  48. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1992. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction, and Employment Reallocation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 819-863.
  49. Lundberg, Shelly, 1985. "The Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 11-37, January.
  50. Bhalotra, Sonia, 2010. "Fatal fluctuations? Cyclicality in infant mortality in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 7-19, September.
  51. Schultz, T. Paul, 1988. "Education investments and returns," Handbook of Development Economics,in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 13, pages 543-630 Elsevier.
  52. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
  53. Basu, K. & Genicot, G. & Stiglitz, J., 2000. "Unemployment and Wage Rigidity when Labor Supply is a Household Decision," Papers 00-01-11, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  54. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2005. "Female Labor Supply As Insurance Against Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 755-764, 04/05.
  55. Mathan Satchi & Jonathan Temple, 2009. "Labor Markets and Productivity in Developing Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 183-204, January.
  56. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  57. Darby, Julia & Hart, Robert A. & Vecchi, Michela, 2001. "Labour force participation and the business cycle: a comparative analysis of France, Japan, Sweden and the United States," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 113-133, April.
  58. Don D. Humphrey, 1940. "Alleged "Additional Workers" in the Measurement of Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48, pages 412-412.
  59. Jonathan Morduch, 1995. "Income Smoothing and Consumption Smoothing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 103-114, Summer.
  60. Dasgupta, Partha, 1997. "Nutritional status, the capacity for work, and poverty traps," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 5-37, March.
  61. Susan Parker & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2004. "The added worker effect over the business cycle: evidence from urban Mexico," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(10), pages 625-630.
  62. Basu, Kaushik & Genicot, Garance & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1999. "Household labor supply, unemployment, and minimum wage legislation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2049, The World Bank.
  63. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John, 1994. "Women's income and boy-girl anthropometric status in the Cote d'Ivoire," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 543-553, April.
  64. Malik, Adeel & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2009. "The geography of output volatility," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 163-178, November.
  65. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2006. "Health and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 313-318, May.
  66. James J. Heckman, 2000. "Causal Parameters and Policy Analysis in Economics: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 45-97.
  67. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1980. "Neoclassical Theory and the Optimizing Peasant: An Econometric Analysis of Market Family Labor Supply in a Developing Country," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 31-55.
  68. Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Review of Easterly's The Elusive Quest for Growth," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 907-918, September.
  69. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  70. Barzel, Yoram & McDonald, Richard J, 1973. "Assets, Subsistence, and The Supply Curve of Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(4), pages 621-633, September.
  71. Joshi, Heather E, 1981. "Secondary Workers in the Employment Cycle: Great Britain, 1961-1974," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 48(189), pages 29-44, February.
  72. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. Macurdy, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4879. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.