Departmental Bulletin Paper Region and Gender Specific Labour Market Participation in India : A Study on Inter-State Variations and Determinants

Mitra, Arup  ,  Okada, Aya

(206)  , pp.1 - 50 , 2017-06 , 名古屋大学大学院国際開発研究科
The female participation rate is significantly lower than that among the males. The rural-urban differentials are more pronounced and the inter-state variations are sizable in the case of females, reflecting the influence of social, cultural and economic factors as well. Even in the large cities the female labour market participation is lower than that in the rural areas despite higher levels of education. The impact of infrastructure, education and health and urbanization on labour force participation of both the gender is quite distinct. While industrialization and growth in services both show a positive effect on participation, though very mildly especially in the case of urban women, economic growth shows an increasing impact for urban males only. Also, there is evidence on poverty induced participation in agricultural activities, suggesting clearly the importance of rural diversification for participation to pick up in the rural context. Women’s participation improves child health significantly as noted from the beneficial effect of female labour force participation rate (from the panel data analysis) on infant mortality of girls as well as boys. Access of mothers to resources through labour market participation improves the health status of the children as their nutritional status and access to curative health care get better. On the whole, women’s participation in productive activities has a double effect: first, it raises the household income and second, it contributes to wellbeing of the household. These findings are important from policy point of view because different infrastructure variables are seen to improve both participation and labour productivity. With improved infrastructure the quantum of investment is expected to shoot up and the accessibility to growth centres offering better livelihood opportunities can perk up. Infrastructure (social, physical and financial) can to certain extent break the social and cultural barriers and help women participate in the labour market and make productive contribution to the growth process. Though the level of urbanization raises the urban participation rate in an inter-spatial sense, a similar pattern is not evident in the context of rural females (at least at the state level). How urbanization can be made more generative with positive spillover effects in the rural neighbourhood is, therefore, an important policy question. Increased urbanization ushering in greater concentration of non-farm activities can expand employment prospects and at the same time result in productivity gains.

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