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Understanding the Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation in the Middle East and North Africa Region: The Role of Education and Social Norms in Amman

Author

Listed:
  • Nadereh Chamlou

    () (The World Bank)

  • Silvia Muzi

    () (The World Bank)

  • Hanane Ahmed

    () (The World Bank)

Abstract

The similarities between the labor market supply of women with a Middle Eastern background living in Europe and those of women living in the Middle East is of particular interest. Indeed, empirical evidence shows that Female Labor Force Participation (FLFP) of immigrants reflects to a large extent the FLFP of country of origin, with women from more conservative societies tending to participate less in the labor market than natives or immigrants from countries with a high FLFP. This impacts the host country’s FLFP at an aggregate level. Therefore, from a European perspective, understanding the determinants of female labor supply in the conservative societies, such as countries from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is of particular interest, considering the high share of this group among immigrants. Hence, this empirical research focuses on the role of education, especially higher education, and social norms in MENA on the choice of women to work outside. The region has achieved substantial progress in educating women, increasingly so at the tertiary level and across disciplines, but its FLFP remains the lowest among all regions. Our paper empirically investigates the impact of education with emphasis on higher education on FLFP and the relationship between social norms and female labor supply in a representative city in MENA, namely Amman, Jordan, as a proxy for MENA. Our analysis shows that higher education (post-secondary/university/post-university) has a positive and significant impact on FLFP, whereas secondary and below do not. In addition, there is a strong negative and statistically significant association between traditional social norms and the participation of women in the labor force. The findings pose the question of whether additional policies and actions are needed to change institutions and attitudes toward women’s work in general, as well as improve the economic opportunities of women who have secondary education which affects the bulk of working age women.

Suggested Citation

  • Nadereh Chamlou & Silvia Muzi & Hanane Ahmed, 2011. "Understanding the Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation in the Middle East and North Africa Region: The Role of Education and Social Norms in Amman," Working Papers 31, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
  • Handle: RePEc:laa:wpaper:31
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ali Fakih & Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in MENA's Manufacturing Sector: The Implications of Firm-related and National Factors," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-46, CIRANO.
    2. Paolo Verme & Abdoul Gadiry Barry & Jamal Guennouni, 2016. "Female Labor Participation in the Arab World: Evidence from Panel Data in Morocco," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(3), pages 258-284, September.
    3. Chakraborty, Tanika & Mukherjee, Anirban & Rachapalli,Swapnika Reddy & Saha, Sarani, 2017. "Stigma of Sexual Violence and Womens Decision to Work," GLO Discussion Paper Series 96, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Aboohamidi, Abbas & Chidmi, Benaissa, 2013. "Female Labor Force Participation in Pakistan and Some MENA Countries," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 143097, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    5. Ali Fakih & Pascal L. Ghazalian, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in MENA's Manufacturing Sector: The Implications of Firm-related and National Factors," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-46, CIRANO.
    6. Chakraborty, Tanika & Mukherjee, Anirban & Rachapalli, Swapnika Reddy & Saha, Sarani, 2017. "Stigma of Sexual Violence and Women's Decision to Work," IZA Discussion Papers 10934, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Verme, Paolo & Barry, Abdoul Gadiry & Guennouni, Jamal, 2014. "Female labor participation in the Arab world : some evidence from panel data in Morocco," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7031, The World Bank.
    8. Ali Fakih & Pascal Ghazalian, 2015. "Female employment in MENA’s manufacturing sector: the implications of firm-related and national factors," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 37-69, February.
    9. Rim Ben Mouelhi & Mohamed Goaied, 2017. "Women in the Tunisian Labor Market," Working Papers 1160, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 2017.
    10. Fischer, Justina AV & Aydıner-Avşar, Nursel, 2015. "Are women in the MENA region really that different from women in Europe? Globalization, conservative values and female labor market participation," MPRA Paper 63800, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Mwafaq M. Dandan & Ana Paula Marques, 2017. "Education, Employment and Gender Gap in Mena Region," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 7(6), pages 573-588, June.
    12. Tudorel ANDREI & Andreea MIRICĂ & Daniel TEODORESCU & Elena-Doina DASCĂLU, 2016. "Main Determinants of Labor Force Participation in the case of Metropolitan Roma People," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 0(3), pages 144-163, September.
    13. Assaad, Ragui & Hendy, Rana & Lassassi, Moundir & Yassin, Shaimaa, 2018. "Explaining the MENA Paradox: Rising Educational Attainment, Yet Stagnant Female Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:29:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1057_s41287-016-0013-z is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Hayo Bernd & Caris Tobias, 2013. "Female Labour Force Participation in the MENA Region: The Role of Identity," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 9(3), pages 271-292, December.
    16. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:226-238 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Muhammad Zahir Faridi & Ayesha Rashid, 2014. "The Correlates of Educated Women’s Labor Force Participation in Pakistan: A Micro-Study," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 155-184, July-Dec.

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