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Information and Communication Technology Adoption and the Demand for Female Labor: The Case of Indian Industry

Ritika Jain

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 2021, vol. 21, issue 2, 695-722

Abstract: Does the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) lead to better and more inclusive women representation in the workforce? We explore this question for India- a developing economy characterized by strong patriarchal norms and gender-based discrimination in the workforce. Using the World Bank Enterprise Survey of 2014, we examine the effect of computerization, email usage and Internet services on three aspects of female representation- total female representation, representation across the hierarchy of workforce and quality of female representation. Using instrumental variable estimation models, we find that ICT adoption has a positive effect on the total share of women in the workforce. A deeper analysis reveals that the positive effect of ICTs on female employment is limited to the share of females in the highly skilled workforce. In contrast, it does not affect the female share in the low or unskilled workforce. This indicates that ICT adoption has a semi-polarization effect on women. We also find that ICT adoption is associated with better quality females in the workforce. Both rises in demand for skilled people and a women-friendly work environment drive these results. The overall findings establish the effective role of ICTs in enhancing women’s representation in the workforce.

Keywords: ICT adoption; India; labor; women representation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J23 L86 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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DOI: 10.1515/bejeap-2020-0295

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