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

MAGKS Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics No. 41-2012

23 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2014

See all articles by Tobias Caris

Tobias Caris

University of Marburg

Bernd Hayo

University of Marburg - School of Business & Economics

Date Written: August 30, 2012

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 game-theoretic 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.

Keywords: Female labour market participation, Arab region, Islam, Identity, Religion

JEL Classification: J16, J21, Z12, Z13, O53

Suggested Citation

Caris, Tobias and Hayo, Bernd, Female Labour Force Participation in Arab Countries: The Role of Identity (August 30, 2012). MAGKS Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics No. 41-2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2389645 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2389645

Tobias Caris

University of Marburg ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 24
D-35032 Marburg, D-35032
Germany

Bernd Hayo (Contact Author)

University of Marburg - School of Business & Economics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 24
Marburg, D-35032
Germany
++49(0)6421-28-23091 (Phone)
++49(0)6421-28-23193 (Fax)

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