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The Effects of Religion and Patriarchal Norms on Female Labor Force Participation

By Chidinma Hannah Nnoromele

This paper provides an empirical study of the influence of religion, religiosity, and patriarchal norms on female labor force participation across 40 countries. Using micro-level data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) 2012: “Family and Changing Gender Roles IV and macro-level data from World Bank Group’s Women, Business, and the Law 2012 database, the study examines religious and patriarchal aspects that influence female labor force participation among working women, ages 15 to 64. The analysis supports the hypothesis that more religious and socially conservative women are less likely to have paid work. However, the analysis, which examines ten different religions, finds that the specific religion a woman practices, excluding the cultural religions (Judaism and Hinduism), does not influence female labor force participation when controlling for national and environmental cultural factors. This suggests that a country’s institutions, socio-political context, and geographic cultural heritage matter in the way that religiosity is expressed in women’s economic participation.

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Advisor: Michael Munger, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: J1, D19, J21, J22

The Neighborhood Effect on Health Outcomes for Women in Urban India

By Priyanka Venkannagari

The paper uses 2011 Indian Human Development Survey data to assess the impact of 5 categories of variables on health outcomes. It uses OLS models, interaction terms, instrumental variable models, fixed effects and random effects to investigate the existence of a neighborhood effect on health outcomes for women in urban India. This paper finds that various aspects of health practices, empowerment, amenities and financial security are relevant when looking at health outcomes. Interventions looking to address health outcomes should consider these variables and the compounding neighborhood effect.

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Advisor: Charles Becker | JEL Codes: C36, I1, I12, O18

Variations in Turkey’s Female Labor Market: The Puzzling Role of Education

By Rachael Anderson

Although Turkey ranks among the world’s 20 largest economies, female labor force participation in Turkey is surprisingly low.  Relative to other developed countries, however, the proportion of Turkish women in senior management is high.  One explanation for these contrasting pictures of Turkey’s female labor force is education.  To better understand how women’s education and household characteristics explain variations in Turkey’s female labor market, I use annual Turkish Household Labour Force Survey data from 20042012 to estimate five probabilities: the likelihood that a woman (1) participates in the labor force, or is employed in an (2) agricultural, (3) blue collar, (4) lower white collar, or (5) upper white collar job.  I find that labor force participation is relatively high among female primary school graduates, who are most likely to work in agricultural and blue collar jobs.  Highly educated married women are the most likely group to participate in upper white collar jobs, and families favor sending single daughters over wives to work during periods of reduced household income.

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Advisor: Kent Kimbrough, Timur Kuran | JEL Codes: C51, J21, J23 | Tagged: Employment, Labor-force Participation, Occupation Women

Job Choices, Flexibility and Maternal Labor Force Participation

By Samantha Cox

While there are countless studies concerning the effects of various variables on female labor force participation, there are still many unexamined intricacies involved in a woman’s choice to enter, re-enter or leave the work force. This paper attempts to extend on previous research and examine how the flexibility of a woman’s job influences her return to work after the birth of her first child. The findings support the results found in previous models which find a relationship between family size, hourly wage rate, other household income and age at first birth. The results further sought to address the elusive concept of culture’s effect on a woman’s labor decisions by using the woman’s religiosity. Most intrical to this research is the creation of two flexibility indices, one regarding occupation choice and one regarding industry choice, and the varying effect of these variables as well as the aforementioned explanatory variables over time. Using hazard analysis, a positive, significant relationship was established between the flexibility indices and the dependent variable when the influence of time was held constant. Also found was a positive relationship linking the likelihood of a woman returning to work after the birth of her first child, considering she has not already done so, with the interaction of the flexibility indices over time. Only the term interacting with the industry index was found to be significant.

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Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: D1, J13, J24 | Tagged: Economics, Hazard/Survival Models, Industry, Labor Decisions, Maternity, Occupation, Women

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