Economic Development and Female Labor Force Participation in India
47 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2013 Last revised: 5 May 2015
Date Written: June 28, 2013
India has experienced steady economic growth over the last two decades alongside a persistent decline in female labor force participation. This paper explores the relationship between economic development and female labor supply using state-level data spanning 1983-1984 to 2011-2012. While several studies suggest a U shaped relationship between development and female labor force participation, our results suggest that at the state level, there is no systematic U shaped relationship between level of domestic product and women’s LFPR. On examining the relationship between the structure of the economy and women’s economic activity we find that it is not economic growth but rather the composition of growth that is relevant for women.Further, our results suggest that aggregate changes in the proportion of females in the workforce can be mostly attributed to the movement of the workforce across sectors rather than changes in the proportion of female workforce within a sector.
Keywords: female labour force participation rate, economic growth, structural change, U shaped relationship, India
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