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Oil, Laws, and Female Labor Force Participation

Mahdi Majbouri ()

International Advances in Economic Research, 2017, vol. 23, issue 1, 91-106

Abstract: Abstract Despite the rapid rise of women’s education and the fall of their fertility rates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), female labor force participation (FLFP) rates remain low. This paper argues that oil and gas rents and Islamic family law jointly matter. Controlling for country and year fixed-effects in a long panel dataset, it shows that per capita oil and gas rents reduce FLFP rates in countries with Islamic family law more than others. The results are robust to econometric methodology and to controlling for the interaction of rents and all other time-constant factors that are common across the MENA region, such as culture, social norms, and institutions. Moreover, the results cannot be replicated by substituting historical plough use, a strong predictor of gender discrimination, in place of Islamic family law. Policy implications are discussed.

Keywords: Female labor force participation; Oil and gas rents; Islamic family law; Middle East and North Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J71 J21 P48 Q39 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:kap:iaecre:v:23:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11294-016-9621-9