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[IWS] World Bank: FEMALE LABOR PARTICIPATION IN THE ARAB WORLD: SOME EVIDENCE FROM PANEL DATA IN MOROCCO [September 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

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Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

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World Bank

Policy Research Working Paper 7031

 

FEMALE LABOR PARTICIPATION IN THE ARAB WORLD: SOME EVIDENCE FROM PANEL DATA IN MOROCCO [September 2014]

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/20328

or

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/20328/WPS7031.pdf?sequence=1

[full-text, 24 pages]

 

Female labor participation in the Arab world is low compared with the level of economic development

of Arab countries. Beyond anecdotal evidence and cross-country studies, there is little evidence on what

could explain this phenomenon. This paper uses the richest set of panel data available for any Arab country to date to

model female labor participation in Morocco. The paper finds marriage, household inactivity rates, secondary education,

and gross domestic product per capita to lower female labor participation rates. It also finds that the category urban

educated women with secondary education explains better than others the low level of female labor participation. These

surprising findings are robust to different estimators, endogeneity tests, different specifications of the female

labor participation equations, and different sources of data. The findings are also consistent with previous studies

on the Middle East and North Africa region and on Morocco.

The explanation seems to reside in the nature of economic growth and gender norms. Economic growth has not been labor

intensive, has generated few jobs, and has not been in female-friendly sectors, resulting in weak demand for women,

especially urban educated women with secondary education. And when men and women compete for scarce jobs, men may have

priority access because of employers' and households' preferences.

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