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.


  • Tomoko Hashino, Kobe University,,
  • Yukiko Abe, Hokkaido University,,
  • Janet Hunter, London School of Economics,,

Session members

  • Chiaki Yamamoto, Osaka University,
  • Natalia Mora-Sitja, University of Cambridge,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Masaki Nakabayashi, University of Tokyo,
  • Janet Hunter, London School of Economics and Political Science,
  • Osamu Saito, Hitotsubashi University, Emeritus,