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This book focuses on the gender-specific labour force participation rates across regions in India and identifies its most important determinants. Before concentrating on the Indian context, it examines the participation rates of various countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Not unexpectedly, the study shows that the rate is significantly lower for females than for males in this region. The rural–urban differentials are more pronounced and the inter-state variations are more sizable among females than males. Even in large cities, the female labour market participation is lower than that in the rural areas despite higher levels of education. However, in terms of inter-spatial (rural/urban/city) variations, the impact of infrastructure, education, health and urbanization on the labour force participation of both genders is quite distinct.

On the whole, the study reinforces the stance that women’s participation in productive activities has a doubly positive impact; it not only raises the household income, but also contributes to the wellbeing of the household. These findings are important from a policy perspective, as different infrastructure variables are confirmed to improve both participation and labour productivity. As such, the book offers a valuable resource not only for researchers, but also for NGOs and policymakers.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Labour Market Participation in India: A Region- and Gender-Specific Study

Abstract
This study in the Indian context focuses on the gender-specific labour force participation across regions and makes an attempt to identify the important determinants. Before turning to the Indian situation, the participation rates are examined for various countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In India like many other countries, the female participation rate is significantly lower than that among the males. The rural–urban differentials are more pronounced, and the interstate variations are sizable in the case of females than males. Even in the large cities the female labour market participation is lower than that in the rural areas despite higher levels of education. However, in terms of inter-spatial (rural/urban/city) variations, the impact of infrastructure, education, health and urbanization on labour force participation of both the gender is quite distinct. With improved infrastructure, the quantum of investment is expected to shoot up and the accessibility to growth centres offering better livelihood opportunities can perk up. While industrialization and growth in services show a positive effect on participation, economic growth unravels a positive impact on urban males only. Also, there is evidence on poverty-induced participation in agricultural activities, suggesting clearly the importance of rural diversification for creation of productive employment. Women’s participation improves child health significantly. Access of mothers to resources enhances the health status of the children as their nutritional status and access to curative health care get better. On the whole, women participation in productive activities has a double effect: first, it raises the household income; second, it contributes to the well-being of the household. These findings are important from policy point of view because different infrastructure variables are seen to improve both participation and labour productivity. Infrastructure (social, physical and financial) can to certain extent break the social and cultural barriers and help women join the labour market, thus enabling them to make productive contribution to the growth process. Though the level of urbanization raises the urban participation rate in an inter-spatial sense, a similar pattern is not evident in the context of rural females (at least at the state level). How urbanization can be made more generative with positive spillover effects in the rural neighbourhood is an important policy concern because increased urbanization ushering in greater concentration of non-farm activities holds the potentiality to create employment prospects and at the same time result in productivity gains.
Arup Mitra, Aya Okada

Backmatter

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