Village Transportation Infrastructure and Women’s Non-Agricultural Employment in India: The Conditioning Role of Community Gender Context


Lei, Lei, Sonalde Desai, and Reeve Vanneman. 2017. “Village Transportation Infrastructure and Women’s Non-Agricultural Employment in India: The Conditioning Role of Community Gender Context.” Working Paper 2017-2, India Human Development Survey, The University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.

Authors: Lei Lei, Sonalde Desai, Reeve Vanneman


Previous studies have examined how demographic characteristics, education, culture, and labor policy suppress Indian women’s labor supply. However, not enough attention has been paid to the role of poor labor market opportunity structure in causing Indian women’s exclusion from wage labor, particularly non-farm work. The recent government investments in transportation infrastructure has led to an expansion of employment opportunities for rural women, which allows us to examine the role of demand factors. Using data from the India Human Development Survey collected in 2005 and 2012, we study the impact of village transportation conditions on women’s participation in nonagricultural work. Conditional logit models show that access by roads and frequent bus services positively influence men’s and women’s participation in non-agricultural work. Similar effects are found for women and men. The positive impact of transportation infrastructure on women’s non-farm employment is stronger in communities with more egalitarian gender norms.

Topics: Gender, Infrastructure, Transportation, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2017

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