Journal of Business & Economic Policy

ISSN 2375-0766 (Print), 2375-0774 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jbep

The Impact of Government Policies on Female Labor Force Participation Rates
Casey Abington

Labor force participation rates for men are higher than those for women in nearly every country in the world. This gap has significantly narrowed in the last century as more women have entered the labor force. However, more recently, the growth of participation by women has leveled off and even declined in some countries. This paper explores determinants of female labor force participation rates. The specific focus is on studying the effect of three relatively new and unique government policy variables—the existence of a law mandating paid or unpaid maternity leave, whether mothers are guaranteed an equivalent position following maternity leave, and the presence of a law mandating nondiscrimination based on gender in hiring. The study analyzes 177 countries from 2009 to 2017. The primary finding is that the existence of nondiscrimination laws based on gender in hiring is associated with higher female labor force participation rate.

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