Terrorism and the Labor Force: Evidence of an Effect on Female Labor Force Participation and the Labor Gender Gap

26 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2013

See all articles by Claude Berrebi

Claude Berrebi

RAND Corporation; Hebrew University - The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Department of Economics; RAND Corporation - Labor and Population Studies

Jordan Ostwald

RAND Corporation

Date Written: February 26, 2013

Abstract

A number of studies have shown a correlational relationship between measures of terrorism and the standing of women in the workforce as measured by female labor force participation. Various studies have proposed theories to explain these associations. Some have concluded that women’s participation in the labor force could be the driver that moves terrorism; others have proposed theories where terrorism and conflict motivate the deviations in the labor force. No study has adequately explored causality and the direction of this association. Using a panel data set of 165 countries and terrorism data from 1980-2007, this paper finds that terrorist attacks decrease female labor force participation and increase the gap between male and female labor force participation. By exploiting variation across countries and time, it is able to identify the effects of terrorism on female labor force participation and the labor gender gap. Furthermore, by using two novel instrumental variable approaches, it identifies a causal link and address endogeneity concerns related to the possibility of transitional development and shifting gender relations inciting terrorism. It finds that, on average, terrorist attacks decrease female labor force participation, ultimately widening the labor gender gap. The results are statistically significant and robust across a multitude of model specifications.

Suggested Citation

Berrebi, Claude and Ostwald, Jordan, Terrorism and the Labor Force: Evidence of an Effect on Female Labor Force Participation and the Labor Gender Gap (February 26, 2013). RAND Working Paper Series WR- 985. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2230011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2230011

Claude Berrebi (Contact Author)

RAND Corporation ( email )

Santa Monica, CA
310-393-0411 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rand.org/about/people/b/berrebi_claude.html

Hebrew University - The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government

Hebrew University
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Israel

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

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United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/people/Faculty/Berrebi.html

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Industrial Relations Section
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United States
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609-258-2907 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~cberrebi

RAND Corporation - Labor and Population Studies ( email )

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Santa Monica, CA
United States
310-393-0411 (Phone)

Jordan Ostwald

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

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