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The puzzling decline of female labor force participation in India and its prospects: an age-period-cohort approach

Balhasan Ali, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Guillaume Marois, ADRI, Shanghai University
Preeti Dhillon, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Despite the rapid increment in female education and decline in fertility rate in India, the female labour force participation (FLPR) declined and reached a very low level (17.5 percent) in 2017-18. Conservative gender and social norms, patriarchy, lack of skills, and household status are major constraints in women's participation in the labour market, but little is known about the cohort behaviour of female labour force participation with age and period effects. In this context, it is essential to explore and decompose (1) the age effect of women, (2) the period effect, and (3) the cohort effect on FLPR. For this study, we will use micro-level data from the labour surveys (1993-2018). Understanding the cohort behaviour considering age and period effect would produce a more precise explanation of the puzzling decline of FLPR. Further, the projection of FLPR considering cohort will help to understand prospects better. We found significant age-period-cohort effect on FLPR. We found a consistent decline in FLPR during 1993-2017 except 2005 across all age-group. FLPR is very low across all cohorts, and recent cohort groups have very low participation rate in labour market compared to previous cohorts. We found that FLPR will be at continuous decline in future.

Keywords: Human capital and labour markets, Life course analysis, Population projections, forecasts, and estimations, Gender

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 106. Gender Disparities and Disadvantage: Perspectives from India