The Puzzling Decline in Rural Women’s Labor Force Participation in India: A Reexamination

GIGA Working Paper Series

30 Pages Posted: 26 May 2012

See all articles by Daniel F. Neff

Daniel F. Neff

German Overseas Institute (DUI) - German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester

Veronika Kling

German Overseas Institute (DUI) - German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

Date Written: May 25, 2012

Abstract

Between 2004/2005 and 2009/2010 there was a sharp fall in female labor force participation (LFP) in rural India. Why did this occur? We look at the four standard explanations: that more women in rural areas are now pursuing higher education and are therefore not available for work (education effect), that household incomes are rising quickly enough that there is a tendency for women to withdraw from the labor force to attend to domestic duties (income effect), that employment opportunities for women are decreasing, and that social and cultural factors may be interacting with these three factors and amplifying their effects. Our findings suggest that the decline in rural women’s LFP could potentially be due to an income effect and partly due to an education effect. We find no evidence of changes in employment opportunities or of social and cultural interaction effects that could explain the decline in rural female LFP.

Keywords: labor force, women, rural, India

JEL Classification: J00, J20, J21

Suggested Citation

Neff, Daniel F. and Sen, Kunal and Kling, Veronika, The Puzzling Decline in Rural Women’s Labor Force Participation in India: A Reexamination (May 25, 2012). GIGA Working Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2066585 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2066585

Daniel F. Neff (Contact Author)

German Overseas Institute (DUI) - German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) ( email )

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, DE D-20354
Germany

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Veronika Kling

German Overseas Institute (DUI) - German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) ( email )

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, DE D-20354
Germany

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