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Female Labour Force Participation in Arab Countries: The Role of Identity

Author

Listed:
  • Tobias Caris

    (Philipps-University Marburg)

  • Bernd Hayo

    () (Philipps-University Marburg)

Abstract

We investigate why female labour market participation is low in the Arab region. Utilising Akerlof and Kranton’s (2000) ‘identity economics’ approach, we show in a simple gametheoretic framework that women socialised in a traditional family environment violate their identities by taking a job. In the empirical analysis, we study the respective impact of two determinants of identity in the Arab region, Islam and cultural tradition. Employing two waves of the World Values Survey, we find significant evidence that identity affects female labour market participation. Moreover, our estimates suggest that in the Arab region, Muslim women do not participate in the labour market less than non-Muslim women, whereas those with strong traditional identities have a 7 percentage point lower probability of entering the labour market.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobias Caris & Bernd Hayo, 2012. "Female Labour Force Participation in Arab Countries: The Role of Identity," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201241, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201241
    as

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    File URL: https://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/magkspapers/41-2012_hayo.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hendry, David F., 2000. "Econometrics: Alchemy or Science?: Essays in Econometric Methodology," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293545.
    2. Heineck, Guido, 2004. "Does religion influence the labor supply of married women in Germany?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 307-328, July.
    3. Psacharopoulos, George & Tzannatos, Zafiris, 1989. "Female Labor Force Participation: An International Perspective," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 187-201, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Timur Kuran, 1997. "Islam and Underdevelopment: An Old Puzzle Revisited," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(1), pages 1-41, March.
    6. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1985. "Cultural Differences in Labor Force Participation among Married Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 251-255, May.
    7. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Female labour market participation; Arab region; Islam; Identity; Religion;

    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
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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