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Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

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Determinants of the Low Female Labour Force Participation in India You or your institution have access to this content

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Piritta Sorsa1, Jan Mares, Mathilde Didier, Caio Guimaraes, Marie Rabate, Gen Tang, Annamaria Tuske1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

22 Apr 2015
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The low and declining female labour force participation rate in India despite strong growth over the past decade is puzzling and stands out among emerging markets. At the same time greater economic participation of women can be a source of inclusive growth, and wellbeing. Assessing determinants of the labour force participation of women in India can open important policy insights. This paper first describes key employment trends in India by gender. Then the potential determinants of female labour force participation are identified based on literature, basic statistics and econometric techniques. Given the large regional differences in India the analysis is also conducted by region and between rural and urban areas. In contrast to other BRIICs or OECD countries, education and incomes are negatively correlated with female labour for participation in India. Apart from lack of jobs, social and cultural factors keep women outside the labour force. Other determinants relate to infrastructure, access to finance, labour laws and rural employment programmes. This Working Paper relates to the 2014 OECD Economic Survey of India (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-india.htm).
gender equality, India, gender, female labour force participation
JEL Classification:
  • J16: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of Gender ; Non-labor Discrimination
  • J18: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Public Policy
  • J21: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
  • J22: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Time Allocation and Labor Supply
  • J46: Labor and Demographic Economics / Particular Labor Markets / Informal Labor Markets
  • J71: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Discrimination / Discrimination
  • J82: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International / Labor Force Composition
  • J83: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International / Workers' Rights
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