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Against the Wind: Labor Force Participation of Women and Economic Instability in Iran

Mahdi Majbouri ()

Feminist Economics, 2016, vol. 22, issue 4, 31-53

Abstract: In the last three decades, Iranian women's educational attainment has continuously increased while their fertility rate has fallen rapidly. Yet in spite of these developments, which in many countries have a positive effect on women's labor force participation, female labor force participation (FLFP) rates have remained at low levels. This paper argues that despite its overall static trend, FLFP of some Iranian women responded to economic pressures induced by macroeconomic instabilities. Looking at the Iranian economic crisis of 1994–5, the study shows that, controlling for individual fixed effects, married women in rural areas and never-married women in urban areas increased their participation rate by as much as 38 percent. No change in hours worked was found for any group of women. The differences in responses and their underlying reasons have policy implications for many developing countries.

Date: 2016
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