Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Female Labor Supply and Fertility in Iran: A Comparison between Developed, Semi Developed and Less Developed Regions

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Female Labor Supply and Fertility in Iran: A Comparison between Developed, Semi Developed and Less Developed Regions

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


Changing the gender composition in labor supply is one of the most fundamental changes in the work in the last century. The empirical literature on determinants of female labor force participation rate is well-documented (1). United States and western European countries had more rates of female labor supply rather than less developed countries, but some developing countries had rapid growth in female labor supply. For example, female labor supply has increased from 21.8% in 1991 to 31.9% in 2009 in Iran. It increased from 56.7% in 1991 to 58.4% in the 2009 United States. Despite these changes, in some countries the rate of female labor participation remains very low. For example, in Iraq this rate was only 14% in 2012(2).

Female workers are known as substitutes for male workers in the labor market. Increasing in male labor supply will decrease female labor supply (3). Categorizing the factors which affects female labor supply has been shown that three major features affects female labor supply: Cultural factors, socioeconomic factors and health factors. These features may have opposite or negative effects. For example, urbanization as a determinant of female labor supply is influenced by economic, social and cultural effects (4). Cultural effects cause that urbanization raises female labor supply, but an economic factor like agricultural effect has a negative effect (5, 6). Education is another variable, which affects female labor supply. In agricultural sector, education may decrease female labor supply, but in services sectors, it increases female labor supply. In economic viewpoint, in one hand, education may increase income and hinder sending women to work and it may lead to increase female labor supply because of increasing in the skilled women(1, 5). Some variables like fertility and aging are categorized as health variables. Having more children reduces the ability of working women. This is because the women must stay at home and take care of their children so they have not enough time for working (7). Aging is another factor, which affects female labor supply. The ability of women to work will decrease at higher age groups. Retirement is another reason to decrease the female labor supply at higher ages. Living alone also increases the probability of working too. This is a social variable (8). A divorced woman may fall in some bad conditions. She must live with her parents or children or alone. A widowed woman has such conditions; however, she can use her husband's retirement salary. If these women face with improper socioeconomic conditions, they have work to get money, so the female labor supply will increase (9, 10). Wage is another variable, which affects female labor supply. Increasing wages will stimulate unemployed and householder women to find jobs and work. Migration also affects female labor supply (5).

The numerous studies have examined the determinants of female labor supply. Because of cultural, socioeconomic and health factors, the effects of the variables on female labor supply vary among different regions. In this study, we compare the effects of the effective variables in less-developed and developed provinces of Iran.


Based on descriptive and analytical study in 2012, we divided the provinces of Iran into 3 regions: less-developed, semi-developed and developed provinces. For less-developed provinces including Sistan and Baluchestan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kordestan, Bushehr, Hormozgan, Lorestan, Ilam, Kohkilooye and Boirahmad, and South Khorasan, we used 78743 data. For developed provinces including Tehran and Alborz, we used 115492. These 2 provinces account for near 15% of Iran's population, so we did not add other industrialized provinces in this region. Finally, the semi-developed provinces include Fars, Mazandaran, Gilan, Azerbaijan-Qarbi, Khouzestan, Kerman and Khorasan-Razavi. The total observations for these provinces were 199163. …

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