Why Did Indian Female Labor Force Participation Decline? Evidence from a Model of Household Labor Supply
Between 1983 and 2011, Indian married women’s labor force participation (LFP) declined from 35% to 24%, even while the economy grew, educational attainment rose, and fertility fell. To study this decline in LFP, I use India’s National Sample Survey to construct a unique sample of matched husband-wife pairs. The economics of household labor supply suggests that the explanation may lie in rising husbands’ incomes that exert a negative income effect on wives’ LFP. Two-stage least squares estimates of a model of household labor supply reveal positive wives’ own-wage elasticities, rising from 0.25 in 1983 to 0.67 in 2011, and negative cross-wage elasticities, “rising” from -0.54 in 1983 to -0.75 in 2011. Estimating the model for the period as a whole, trends in wives’ wages imply an increase in women’s LFP of 8.6 percentage points, and trends in husbands’ wages a decrease of 20.8 percentage points, for an overall decline of 12.2 percentage points.
Guaranteed Employment in Rural India: Empowering Women or Reducing the Value of their Labor Force Participation?
(with Jorge Luis Garcia)
In 2005, the Indian government announced a program guaranteeing at least one member of every rural household one hundred days of employment per year. The announcement coincided with the start of a ten percentage point decrease in female labor force participation between 2005 and 2011. We argue that the program increases the value of not participating in the labor force for women by providing a safety net for their husbands. Evidence obtained exploiting quasiexperimental roll-out and other program features supports this argument and suggests that the program explains half of the decrease in female labor force participation observed after 2005.
Does the Ownership of Time-Saving Household Appliances Have A Positive Impact on Child and Adult Female Outcomes? : Evidence from India (with Amanda Kerr)
We use micro-level data from the India Human Development Survey to test our hypothesis that ownership of time-saving household appliances results in: a decrease in time allocated to household work, an increase in school enrollment rates, and a decrease in labor force participation rates for children; and a decrease in time allocated to household work and an increase in labor force participation rates for adult females. To deal with the endogeneity of household durable goods, we instrument household ownership of time-saving appliances by average ownership rate among households with no children living in the same village and two family-specific time-using household assets. With gender equality and women's empowerment being a top priority among both developed and developing countries, the question analyzed in this paper will have valuable policy implications. If our hypothesis is found to be true, a decrease in female household members’ obligations within the household may be required to increase a female child's enrollment and a female adult’s labor force participation. Time-saving appliances may be a tool that provides the requisite decrease in average time dedicated to housework.
Selection and Women's Wages Over Time: Evidence From India
Between 1983 and 2011, the average real wage increased by 149% and 55% for Indian married women and men, respectively. At the same time, there was rapid economic growth (between 6% and 7% per year) as well as rising educational attainment in India. I use data from India's National Sample Survey to construct a unique sample of matched husband-wife pairs. I employ the Gronou-Heckman-Roy model, Heckman's two-step estimator, and my unique sample of matched husband-wife pairs to study how the change in observed wages and gender wage gap reflects the changing composition of the female workforce. The two-step estimates show that selection into wives' wage employment is consistently negative, however, is becoming less negative from -0.379 log points in 1983 to -0.181 log points in 2011. In addition, the two-step estimates of the gender wage gap show a moderate increase (in absolute value) from a -0.455 to a -0.503 log wage point differential over the study period.
Works In Progress:
The Effects of Merit-Based Aid on Student Achievement: Evidence from an Indian University (with Peter Blair)
Early Marriage, Age at Menarche, and Educational Attainment: Evidence from India (with Devon Gorry)