Volume 43 - Article 24 | Pages 673–706
The labor force participation of Indian women before and after widowhood
|Date received:||09 Aug 2019|
|Date published:||02 Sep 2020|
|Keywords:||caste, household distribution, household structure, labor force participation, life course, widowhood, women|
|Additional files:||readme.43-24 (text file, 3 kB)|
|demographic-research.43-24 (zip file, 1 MB)|
Background: Due to its young age structure and taboos on widow remarriage, India has a large and relatively young female widow population. Many of India’s widows are in prime working ages. India has one of the lowest female labor force participation rates in the world.
Objective: This paper calculates the effect of widowhood on the labor force participation of Indian widows. The analysis documents how labor force participation changes associated with widowhood vary by age, caste/religion, relation to head of household, rural/urban status, and region.
Methods: Using the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), the analysis tracks 3,217 women who experience the loss of their spouse between the two survey waves. Individual fixed effects regressions are used to measure the association between the transition to widowhood and changes in the number of days worked in the past year.
Results: Widowhood was associated with a decrease in days worked for older women; but for women widowed before age 52, widowhood was associated with a large increase in the number of days they worked. Widows who joined the labor force were more likely to gain employment in permanent and salaried work than married women. Widows who resided with their in-laws or who became the household head after their husband’s death saw increases in their work participation whereas those who lived in households headed by their adult children experienced negative widowhood effects on their work participation.
Contribution: These findings highlight the important link between marital status and female employment in India.
Megan Reed - University of Pennsylvania, United States of America
Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research
Indian paradox: Rising education, declining womens' employment
Volume 38 - Article 31 | Keywords: labor force participation, women
Union formation and fertility amongst immigrants from Pakistan and their descendants in the United Kingdom: A multichannel sequence analysis
Volume 48 - Article 10 | Keywords: life course
Solo living in the process of transitioning to adulthood in Europe: The role of socioeconomic background
Volume 48 - Article 3 | Keywords: life course
Household structure across childhood in four lower- and middle-income countries
Volume 47 - Article 6 | Keywords: household structure
A dyadic approach to the study of perceived subfecundity and contraceptive use
Volume 47 - Article 1 | Keywords: life course
Cited References: 51
»View the references of this article
Download to Citation Manager