Social Norms and Gender Differences in Labor Force Participation in China

Xiao, Saizi and Asadullah, M. Niaz (2020) Social Norms and Gender Differences in Labor Force Participation in China. Feminist Economics, 26 (4). pp. 114-148. ISSN 1354-5701

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/13545701.2020.1758337

Abstract

Since China’s transition to a socialist market system, women’s labor force participation has declined sharply. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) 2010, the authors re-examine China’s gender gap in labor force participation with a focus on social norms. Probit model estimates of the gender gap in labor force participation probability confirm the contribution of conventional factors such as health and other human capital as important explanations for the resurgent gender gap in China. However, even after extensive controls for human-capital differences, the gap remains mostly unexplained in the data. The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition analysis confirms that the gender gap in labor force participation is predominantly explained by behavioral differences between women and men. Gender-related community social norms account for 41.4 percent of the unexplained gap. The study results are robust to alternative measures of social norms and additional controls for community characteristics. HIGHLIGHTS Recent studies have examined why women’s labor force participation has declined sharply in post–economic reform China, but research on the effects of social norms has been limited. The gender gap in participation remains mostly unexplained by differences in human capital between women and men. Social norms account for almost half of the unexplained portion of the gender gap in labor force participation. Along with expanding women’s access to education and improving their health, policies should promote favorable attitudes toward women’s employment, particularly during times of economic crisis. © 2020, © 2020 IAFFE.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender inequality; social norms; health capital; China
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: Faculty of Economics & Administration
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2021 07:48
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2021 07:48
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/25785

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