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

36 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2012  

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Janneke Pieters

IZA; Wageningen UR

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.

Keywords: female labor force participation, education, India

JEL Classification: J21, J22, O12, O15

Suggested Citation

Klasen, Stephan and Pieters, Janneke, Push or Pull? Drivers of Female Labor Force Participation During India's Economic Boom. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6395. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2019447

Stephan Klasen (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany
+49-551-397303 (Phone)
+49-551-397302 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/klasen.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Wageningen UR ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

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