The Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Aggregated and Disaggregated Panel Data of Developing Countries

The Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Aggregated and Disaggregated Panel Data of Developing Countries

Banu Demirhan (Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey) and Erdal Demirhan (Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2008-5.ch007


The female labor participation is recently considered as one of the factors leading to economic development in developing countries by amplifying total labor force as qualitative and quantitative. In this study, the authors investigate the factors affecting female labor participation in developing countries, applying panel data model for 83 developing countries over the period of 1990-2014. Empirical results indicate that u-shaped and incompatibility hypotheses are valid in the developing countries. Additionally, improving education levels and increasing male participation in labor markets lead women to more participate in labor markets. These results show the importance of enhancing education level and therefore the policies towards providing it.
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Literature On The Determinants Of Female Labor Force Participation

Reviewing the literature, we find that the studies investigating the determinants of FLFP mainly focus on various factors. According to Shah and Al-Qudsi (1990), they are divided into two groups that are background and intervening. Background factors consist of demographic and socio-cultural ones, influencing the supply factors, and intervening factors consist of supply and demand ones. While socio-cultural factors include protective norms, non-desirability of specific jobs, and status considerations; demographic ones include age, family size, age of youngest child, marital status, household headship, and family type. Supply factors consist of husband’s income, occupation, and income, which are related to husbands, and women’s education, skill level, and motivation to work are the main ones, which are related to women. The availability of child care and attractiveness of jobs can also be considered as the variables including in the supply factors. The demand factors affecting FLFP include the variables related to the demand for female workers such as rate and character of economic development, the size of the informal sector, discrimination against the female employment, and regulations about wages and sex discrimination in hiring. In this study, considering the factors explained above, we select the variables used in the econometric models, which can be accounted for as follows:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Age Dependency Ratio: The ratio of dependents (people younger than 15 or older than 64) to the working-age population (aged 15-64).

Life Expectancy at Birth: The number of years newborn children would live if subject to the mortality risks prevailing for the cross-section of population at the time of their birth.

Fixed-Effects Model: The model that represents the observed quantities in terms of explanatory variables that are treated as if the quantities were non-random.

Labor Participation Rate: The proportion of the population ages 15 and older that is economically active.

Gross Primary or Secondary School Enrolment Ratio: The number of children enrolled in a level (primary or secondary), regardless of age, divided by the population of the age group that officially corresponds to the same level.

GDP per Capita: Gross domestic product divided by mid-year population.

Total Fertility Rate: The number of children that would be born per woman if she were to live to the end of her child-bearing years and bear children at each age in accordance with prevailing age-specific fertility rates.

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