Labour Force Participation of Women: Empirical Evidence on the Role of Policy and other Determinants in OCED Countries

Citation:

Jaumotte, Florence. 2003. “Labour Force Participation of Women: Empirical Evidence on the Role of Policy and other Determinants in OCED Countries.” OECD Economic Studies 2 (37): 51- 108.

Author: Florence Jaumotte

Annotation:

Summary:
“Female labour force participation has increased strongly in most OECD countries over the last few decades (Figure 1). The timing of the increase has varied across countries, with some countries starting earlier (e.g. the Nordics and the United States), and in the last two decades the largest increases have been observed in lower income countries (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain) as well as in some northern European countries (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). However, large cross-country differences in the levels of female participation persist. Focusing on prime-age women (aged 25-54), their participation rate ranges from values close to or below 60 per cent in Turkey, Korea, Mexico, and southern European countries (with the exception of Portugal) to values well above 80 per cent in the Nordic countries and some eastern European countries. Female labour force participation is the most important factor in explaining increases in aggregate participation rates as well as the current cross-country variation of aggregate participation rates…
 
 
 
“This paper assesses the role of various factors in determining the pattern of female participation rates in OECD countries. The main focus of the policy analysis is on married women with children, for whom actual participation is well below preferences. A number of policy instruments are included in the analysis, such as the tax treatment of second earners (relative to single individuals), childcare subsidies, child benefits, paid parental leave, and tax incentives to share market work between spouses. The role of other determinants, such as female education and labour market conditions, is also considered. The originality of the econometric study lies in the broad country coverage (17 OECD countries over the period 1985- 1999), in contrast with the single-country focus of most studies. OECD countries present a wide range of policies and experiences in the area of female participation, thereby providing a valuable source of information on the relative effectiveness of various policies. The analysis is based on macroeconomic data which allows estimating the aggregate impact of policy instruments rather than the responsiveness of individuals to microeconomic incentives. One other advantage of the use of macro- economic data is that the estimated coefficients incorporate to some extent general equilibrium effects (at least those on women themselves)” (Jaumotte 2003, 52-3).

Topics: Economies, Public Finance, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Countries: Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, United States of America

Year: 2003

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