2014 OECD Economic Surveys: India 2014

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OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of India examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Special chapters cover health, the manufacturing sector and economic participation of women.

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Raising the economic participation of women in India – A new growth engine?

India has narrowed gender differences in health and education, but gaps in economic participation remain large despite high economic growth over the past decade. The reasons are complex: family status increases if women stay home, housework has become more attractive than poorly paid market work as husband’s incomes have risen; and safety concerns and poor infrastructure keep women from market work. Nevertheless, high unemployment among educated women and revealed preference for work in surveys indicate that many women would work if conditions improved. Specific gender policies will be needed to enlarge economic opportunities for women (World Bank, 2012, Duflo 2012). This chapter analyses the determinants of low female economic participation and recommends policies for raising it. The chapter also estimates long-term growth effects of raising participation with selected policies.

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