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Female Labor, Western Culture and Growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Mark Witte ()

Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, 2011, vol. 7, issue 1, 20-31

Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of the female labor force and the impact of female labor on the growth rates of six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Using per capita spending on imported US books to approximate for western cultural sentiment, the paper finds a positive relationship between the female percentage of total labor and per capita U.S. book expenditures. The estimates suggest that an increase in western cultural sentiment equivalent to an additional $1 per person spent on U.S. books would raise the female percentage of total labor by 1.5 percent in a given GCC country. In fact, the female percentage of total labor can account for approximately 1.6 percent of the variation in growth rates between the GCC countries over time. Moreover, a 1 percent increase in the female percentage of total labor creates GDP growth equivalent to a 2 percent increase in the international price of oil.

Date: 2011
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