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Economic Development and Female Labor Force Participation in Turkey: Time-Series Evidence and Cross-Province Estimates

Aysıt Tansel


Recently, several researchers hypothesized that female labor force participation rate exhibits a U-shape during the process of economic development. This paper provides time series evidence on female labor force participation rates in Turkey and considers its cross-provincial determinants. Time series evidence shows that after a period of sharp decline the female labor force participation rates have exhibited a slowdown in the rate of decline recently. An upturn in this rate may be expected during the coming decades. In the cross-provincial determinants of female labor force participation the measure of development used is per capita Gross Provincial Product. A quadratic term in per capita Gross Provincial Product and other determinants are included in the models estimated. The models are estimated using data for 67 provinces for three time points-1980, 1985 and 1990. The results affirm the U-shaped impact of economic development. Further, unemployment had a considerable discouraging effect on female labor force participation while the impact of education was strongly positive. The hidden unemployment computations indicate that urban female unemployment rate is underestimated and the discouraged-worker effect for women is substantial.

JEL Codes: J16, J21, J22

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