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

  • Klasen, Stephan

    ()

    (University of Göttingen)

  • Pieters, Janneke

    ()

    (Wageningen University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6395.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6395
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  2. Seguino, Stephanie, 2011. "Help or Hindrance? Religion's Impact on Gender Inequality in Attitudes and Outcomes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1308-1321, August.
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  12. Claudia Goldin, 1994. "The U-Shaped Female Labor Force Function in Economic Development and Economic History," NBER Working Papers 4707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Priebe, Jan, 2011. "Child Costs and the Causal Effect of Fertility on Female Labor Supply: An investigation for Indonesia 1993-2008," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 67, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  14. Isis Gaddis & Stephan Klasen, 2011. "Economic Development, Structural Change and Women’s Labor Force Participation A Reexamination of the Feminization U Hypothesis," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 71, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 25 Jul 2012.
  15. Berta Esteve-Volart, 2004. "Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 42, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  16. 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.
  17. Maitreyi Bordia Das, and Sonalde Desai, 2003. "Why are educated women less likely to be employed in India? Testing competing hypotheses," Social Protection Discussion Papers 27868, The World Bank.
  18. Pieters, Janneke, 2010. "Growth and Inequality in India: Analysis of an Extended Social Accounting Matrix," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 270-281, March.
  19. Stephan Klasen & Francesca Lamanna, 2009. "The Impact of Gender Inequality in Education and Employment on Economic Growth: New Evidence for a Panel of Countries," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 91-132.
  20. Bradley T. Heim, 2007. "The Incredible Shrinking Elasticities: Married Female Labor Supply, 1978–2002," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
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