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FEMALE LABOUR FORCE PARTICIPATION AND RELIGION: A CROSS-COUNTRY ANALYSIS

Authors


Kevin Sylwester, Department of Economics, MC 4515, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA. Tel: 618-453-5075, Fax: 618-453-2717; Email: ksylwest@siu.edu. We are deeply indebted to three referees and the editor for their helpful comments. We alone, however, are responsible for the views and any shortcomings of the paper.

ABSTRACT

This paper empirically examines whether female labour force participation (FLFP) in a cross-section of countries between 1985 and 2005 varies depending upon the religion practised in these countries. Using a cross-sectional empirical specification, we initially find that FLFP is lower in Muslim countries. However, the association between Islam and FLFP greatly diminishes once other controls are included in the regression, suggesting that Islam might not diminish FLFP as some have argued. Moreover, once these additional controls are included, the association between Islam and FLFP is similar to that between Catholicism and FLFP. Countries where Protestantism is prevalent or where no religion is practised have higher FLFP. Finally, we find some evidence that the association between FLFP and religion is weakening over time.

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