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Push or Pull? Drivers of Female Labor Force Participation during India's Economic Boom

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  • Klasen, Stephan

    (University of Göttingen)

  • Pieters, Janneke

    (Wageningen University)

Abstract

In the past twenty years, India's economy has grown at increasing rates and now belongs to the fastest-growing economies in the world. This paper examines drivers of female labor force participation in urban India between 1987 and 2004, showing a much more nuanced picture of female labor force participation than one might expect. Recent trends in employment and earnings suggest that at lower levels of education, female labor force participation is driven by necessity rather than economic opportunities. Unit level estimation results confirm that participation of poorly educated women is mainly determined by economic push factors and social status effects. Only at the highest education levels do we see evidence of pull factors drawing women into the labor force at attractive employment and pay conditions. This affects, by 2004, only a small minority of India's women. So despite India's economic boom, it appears that for all but the very well educated, labor market conditions for women have not improved.

Suggested Citation

  • Klasen, Stephan & Pieters, Janneke, 2012. "Push or Pull? Drivers of Female Labor Force Participation during India's Economic Boom," IZA Discussion Papers 6395, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6395
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    female labor force participation; education; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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