Proposal preview

Changing female labor force participation in Europe and Asia

By now it is clear that the female participation rates differ significantly both across countries and within countries. For instance, it is well known that the female labor force participation (FLFP) is higher in northern than in southern Europe. In the case of Japan, the regional differences in FLFP has shrank over the last 80 years. In India and Bangladesh, FLFP is still very low. Are the cross-sectional differences in FLFP explained by common economic factors? Are there similarities in historical development of FLFP in different countries? What are the factors that have determined FLFP? If the same factors do not explain the differences, then what are missing but important determinants of FLFP? Although both economic historians and development economists have pursued these quesions, the discussion between the two groups of researchers has not been intensive. The purpose of this session is to facilitate the dialogue between economic historians studying industrial development in the U.K., Spain, and Japan, and development economists who focus on Asia. The session will shed new light on how FLFP changed in the process of economic development, and how it affects women’s status today. Perspectives from historical demography and labor economics will also be useful for deeper understanding of this issue.

Organizer(s)

  • Tomoko Hashino Kobe University hashino@econ.kobe-u.ac.jp
  • Yukiko Abe Hokkaido University abey@econ.hokudai.ac.jp
  • Janet Hunter London School of Economics j.e.hunter@lse.ac.uk

Session members

  • Chiaki Yamamoto, Osaka University
  • Yoko Tanaka, University of Tsukuba
  • Natalia Mora-Sitja, University of Cambridge
  • Andrew Schein, Netanya Academic College
  • K. Erdem. Kabadayi, Koc University
  • Uygar Karaca, Koc University
  • Pradipta Chaudhury, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Discussant(s)

  • Janet Hunter London School of Economics and Political Science j.e.hunter@lse.ac.uk
  • John Wong University of Hong Kong jdwong@hku.hk

Papers

Panel abstract

By now it is clear that the female participation rates (FLFP) differ significantly both across countries and within countries. Are the cross-sectional differences in FLFP explained by common economic factors? Are there similarities in historical development of FLFP in different countries? What are the factors that have determined FLFP? If the same factors do not explain the differences, then what are missing but important determinants of FLFP? The purpose of this session is to facilitate the dialogue between economic historians studying industrial development in Europe and economic historians and economists who focus on Asia. The session will shed new light on how FLFP changed in the process of economic development, and how it affects women’s status today. Perspectives from historical demography and labor economics will also be useful for deeper understanding of this issue.

1st half

Introduction

Tomoko Hashino

An overview and major issues to be discussed in this session

An overview and major issues to be discussed in this session

Male bread-winner households and time use of women in England

Chiaki Yamamoto

The concept of "the industrious revolution" proposed by Jan de Vries predicts an increase of labour supply of women before the Industrial Revolution, a decrease in the mid-nineteenth century, and their re-entry to the labout market in the mid-century. While the consumer revolution and influx of tropical goods into Europe in the early modern period encouraged more women and children to work for cash income to buy those novelties, Victorian households sought female home-makers who produced Z commodities within households. However, this story has not been supported by enough historical evidences. This study explores court records, diaries, and modern time-use surveys, to show changes in working hours of women in England.

The concept of "the industrious revolution" proposed by Jan de Vries predicts an increase of labour supply of women before the Industrial Revolution, a decrease in the mid-nineteenth century, and their re-entry to the labout market in the mid-century. While the consumer revolution and influx of tropical goods into Europe in the early modern period encouraged more women and children to work for cash income to buy those novelties, Victorian households sought female home-makers who produced Z commodities within households. However, this story has not been supported by enough historical evidences. This study explores court records, diaries, and modern time-use surveys, to show changes in working hours of women in England.

Structural change of female labor participation in Germany 1875-2015

Yoko Tanaka

This paper examines the long-term structural change of female labor participation in Germany from 1875 to 2015. Based on the business, labor force and employment statistics in the Statistical Yearbook (Statistisches Jahrbuch) of German Bureau of Statistics from its beginning in 1880 to the most recent one in 2016, the historical trajectory of non-employment, regular employment and the non-regular employment in the industrialization would be focused. The shift from the non-employment work form to the employment, particularly the changing role of female family worker in the self- employed business or Handwerk would be examined. Complementary change would be shown in the relation between employment in industry and service oriented work. The inner structure in the female employment in the increasing labor participation rate would be further analyzed, with regard to the distribution of their work form from regular full-time employment to temporary short-hours work, Geringfügige, or Minijob, in the historical...

This paper examines the long-term structural change of female labor participation in Germany from 1875 to 2015. Based on the business, labor force and employment statistics in the Statistical Yearbook (Statistisches Jahrbuch) of German Bureau of Statistics from its beginning in 1880 to the most recent one in 2016, the historical trajectory of non-employment, regular employment and the non-regular employment in the industrialization would be focused. The shift from the non-employment work form to the employment, particularly the changing role of female family worker in the self- employed business or Handwerk would be examined. Complementary change would be shown in the relation between employment in industry and service oriented work. The inner structure in the female employment in the increasing labor participation rate would be further analyzed, with regard to the distribution of their work form from regular full-time employment to temporary short-hours work, Geringfügige, or Minijob, in the historical perspective.

Female employment and occupational structure in the long run: a comparative approach

Natalia Mora-Sitja and Leigh Shaw-Taylor

This study explores long run comparative data on women’s work that an international team of researchers collected under the INCHOS project (International Network for the Comparative History of Occupational Structure). Female labour force figures emerging from the Censuses are consistently more volatile than those for males, due to enumeration problems on the one hand, and to the larger elasticity of female labour supply and demand on the other. We first analyse how far enumeration problems distort international comparisons of occupational structures, and next how the gender division of labour varied historically between countries and between stages of development. We also investigate to what extent the weight and composition of different economic sectors across countries and over time are relevant determinants of female labour force participation rates, which allows us to unravel the connections between patterns of economic growth and women’s work.

This study explores long run comparative data on women’s work that an international team of researchers collected under the INCHOS project (International Network for the Comparative History of Occupational Structure). Female labour force figures emerging from the Censuses are consistently more volatile than those for males, due to enumeration problems on the one hand, and to the larger elasticity of female labour supply and demand on the other. We first analyse how far enumeration problems distort international comparisons of occupational structures, and next how the gender division of labour varied historically between countries and between stages of development. We also investigate to what extent the weight and composition of different economic sectors across countries and over time are relevant determinants of female labour force participation rates, which allows us to unravel the connections between patterns of economic growth and women’s work.

Female labor force participation in Israel

Andrew Schein

The female labor force in Israel consists of two large subsections, the Jewish sector and the Arab sector, and the changes over time in the labor force participation rates (LFPR) of the two groups offer an opportunity to examine the effects of economic development and culture on female LFPR. In 1955, the LFPR of Jewish women was 28%, while the Arab women’s rate was 12%. In the most recent data from March 2015, the LFPR of Jewish women increased to 66%, while the LFPR of Arab women increased to 27%. We see that for both groups the LFPR increased, but the differences between the groups became larger. In order to understand these changes, we will examine these changes over time in comparison to the growth of the Israeli economy, the LFPR rates amongst Jewish men and Arab men in Israel and in comparison to female LFPR rates in other countries.

The female labor force in Israel consists of two large subsections, the Jewish sector and the Arab sector, and the changes over time in the labor force participation rates (LFPR) of the two groups offer an opportunity to examine the effects of economic development and culture on female LFPR. In 1955, the LFPR of Jewish women was 28%, while the Arab women’s rate was 12%. In the most recent data from March 2015, the LFPR of Jewish women increased to 66%, while the LFPR of Arab women increased to 27%. We see that for both groups the LFPR increased, but the differences between the groups became larger. In order to understand these changes, we will examine these changes over time in comparison to the growth of the Israeli economy, the LFPR rates amongst Jewish men and Arab men in Israel and in comparison to female LFPR rates in other countries.

2nd half

Changing Female Labor Force Participation in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey 1900-1950

M. Erdem Kabadayi and Uygar Karaca

We propose a paper based upon an analysis of dynamics of female labour force participation in five cities and regions in three countries, Bulgaria (Plovdiv, Ruse), Greece (Salonica), and Turkey (Ankara, Bursa). We will digitise, modify, code and compare occupational data for females and males of chosen cities and regions from the national population censuses for Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey starting from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s. Based upon our preliminary analysis, we can state that, female labour force participation rates, show regional and national trends. Turkey has the lowest level of female participation throughout the period on the national level. However, in some cities the levels of female occupations in Turkey have been higher than in several urban locations in Bulgaria and Greece. With this paper, we would primarily like to analyse and compare connections between changing levels of female participation with structural change and urbanisation in...

We propose a paper based upon an analysis of dynamics of female labour force participation in five cities and regions in three countries, Bulgaria (Plovdiv, Ruse), Greece (Salonica), and Turkey (Ankara, Bursa). We will digitise, modify, code and compare occupational data for females and males of chosen cities and regions from the national population censuses for Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey starting from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s. Based upon our preliminary analysis, we can state that, female labour force participation rates, show regional and national trends. Turkey has the lowest level of female participation throughout the period on the national level. However, in some cities the levels of female occupations in Turkey have been higher than in several urban locations in Bulgaria and Greece. With this paper, we would primarily like to analyse and compare connections between changing levels of female participation with structural change and urbanisation in the first half of the 20th century.

Aspects of Female Labor Force Participation (FLFP) in India since 1901

Pradipta Chaudhury

I analyze variations in FLFP rates across districts, provinces under British rule and states under Indian rulers, across occupations, across social groups (castes), across levels of literacy rates, and over time. I analyze the relationships of FLFP rates of castes, the basic units of Indian society, with their land holdings, literacy rates and ritual status. Occupational mobility during the process of economic development is examined. The determinants of the FLFP (and total LFP) rates are investigated. The labor supply schedule of the poor is derived for a semi-feudal, traditional economy. Socio-economic status of women is examined by considering the interrelationships between sex ratio in population, gender differences in literacy rates, gender differences in LFP rates, gender differences in access to occupations, gender-based wage-differentials (rural, urban, agricultural and industrial), age at marriage, civil conditions, and practices of widow remarriage, dowry and bride-price. A theory of bride price and dowry is proposed.

I analyze variations in FLFP rates across districts, provinces under British rule and states under Indian rulers, across occupations, across social groups (castes), across levels of literacy rates, and over time. I analyze the relationships of FLFP rates of castes, the basic units of Indian society, with their land holdings, literacy rates and ritual status. Occupational mobility during the process of economic development is examined. The determinants of the FLFP (and total LFP) rates are investigated. The labor supply schedule of the poor is derived for a semi-feudal, traditional economy. Socio-economic status of women is examined by considering the interrelationships between sex ratio in population, gender differences in literacy rates, gender differences in LFP rates, gender differences in access to occupations, gender-based wage-differentials (rural, urban, agricultural and industrial), age at marriage, civil conditions, and practices of widow remarriage, dowry and bride-price. A theory of bride price and dowry is proposed.

Convergence of female participation rates in Japan : urbanization and gender norm

Yukiko Abe

This study documents the development of regional differences in women’s participation in Japan from 1930 to 2010 and investigates its causes. While it is known that the female participation rate had been low in Japan, it is perhaps less known that it differed significantly across regions within the country. Historically, urban areas had low participation, whereas non-urban areas had high participation. The participation rate rose steadily and significantly in urban areas and, to a lesser extent in non-urban areas; as a result, there was a significant convergence in female participation from 1930 to 2010. From the 1960s to the 1980s was the period of suburbanization, when the population increased in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas. We hypothesize that the gender division norm, in which men work outside the home and women stay home, was prevalent in the suburban areas during that time.

This study documents the development of regional differences in women’s participation in Japan from 1930 to 2010 and investigates its causes. While it is known that the female participation rate had been low in Japan, it is perhaps less known that it differed significantly across regions within the country. Historically, urban areas had low participation, whereas non-urban areas had high participation. The participation rate rose steadily and significantly in urban areas and, to a lesser extent in non-urban areas; as a result, there was a significant convergence in female participation from 1930 to 2010. From the 1960s to the 1980s was the period of suburbanization, when the population increased in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas. We hypothesize that the gender division norm, in which men work outside the home and women stay home, was prevalent in the suburban areas during that time.