Economic Growth and Female Labor Force Participation - Verifying the U-Feminization Hypothesis. New Evidence for 162 Countries over the Period 1990-2012

By Lechman, Ewa; Kaur, Harleen | Economics & Sociology, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Economic Growth and Female Labor Force Participation - Verifying the U-Feminization Hypothesis. New Evidence for 162 Countries over the Period 1990-2012


Lechman, Ewa, Kaur, Harleen, Economics & Sociology


Introduction

The worldwide trends can be summarized as exhibiting a relatively steady relationship between women`s participation in the labor market and the stage of economic growth. A great majority of empirical studies demonstrate that in the initial phases of economic growth female labor force participation tends to be decreasing, while after reaching a certain level of output per capita, a positive relationship emerges and women`s engagement in the labor market grad-10.14254/2071789X.2015/8-1/19 ually increases. In this vein, the following paper contributes to the present state of knowledge by providing extensive evidence on re-examination of the hypothesis, according to which the statistical relationship between female labor force participation and economic growth follows the U-shaped pattern.

The main goal of the paper is twofold. First, the authors provide new evidence on the U-shaped association between female labor force participation and economic growth in 162 countries over the period 1990-2012. To enrich the analysis, the authors deliberately disaggregate the evidence and exhibits by examining relationships in four distinct income-groups, namely: low-income, lower-middle-income, upper-middle-income and high-income countries1. Disaggregating the evidence sheds light on the issue providing a novel insight, and allows us to determine whether the U-feminization hypothesis is revealed only in the world sample, or -preferably - is held in respective income-groups. The data used in the consecutive analysis are exclusively derived from the World Development Indicators 2013 database. To meet the main empirical objectives, the preliminary graphical evidences are supported by the static and dynamic panel econometric methods.

This paper is structured as follows. The introductory part is followed by sections explaining the conceptual background, data and methodological strategy. Sections 4 and 5 demonstrate empirical results, and the last part is the conclusion.

1. Background

In 1965 Sinha suggested that the feminization of labor force and the level of economic growth are described by the long-term U-shaped relationship. Since then onward, a substantial body of both theoretical and empirical evidence has concentrated on the cited relationship, giving updated insights into the issue. Although the relationship between female labor force participation and the level of economic growth is relatively stable and robust over time, still the outcomes vary if accounting for various countries or country groups.

As already argued, a sizeable amount of evidence suggests a U-shaped relationship between female labor force (FLF) participation and economic growth (Tam, 2011; Lechman and Okonowicz, 2013; Olivetti, 2013; Tsani et al., 2013; Kaur and Tao, 2014). The U-hypothesis claims that economic development (approximated by GDP per capita) and FLF are mutually conditioned (Boserup et al., 2013) and such regularity is probably attributed to countries` structural transformations. The general logic standing behind the U-shaped feminization hypothesis is following. The declining part of the U-shaped curve explains shifts from a subsistence agriculture economy to an industrialized and labor-intensive economy where greater male compared to female input is demanded. It suggests the existence of a trade-off between economic growth and women`s equal access to the labor market in early stages of economic growth. However, such trade-off partly disappears particularly as development proceeds and the next transition - from industrial sector to services - emerges. The post-industrial phase of economic growth is 'unambiguously associated with increasing female labor (...)' (Olivetti, 2013). Economic growth, accompanied by declines in fertility rates, expansion of women`s access to education and their growing agency, allow rising female economic activity (Bayanpourtehrani et al. 2013a; Gaddis and Klasen, 2014). The process of growing women`s involvement in labor market participation is demonstrated by the increasing portion of the U-shaped curve, and is characteristic as the national economy becomes more service-based (Gaddis and Klassen 2013; Olivetti 2013), thus the 're-feminization' of the labor force emerges. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Economic Growth and Female Labor Force Participation - Verifying the U-Feminization Hypothesis. New Evidence for 162 Countries over the Period 1990-2012
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.