Migration Patterns

Work and Women Marriage, Fertility and Empowerment: Evidence from Textile Mill Employment in India

Author : Anitha Sivasankaran | 2014
Published By: Harvard University

Women in developing countries are starting to join the workforce in greater numbers, and it has been argued that such exposure can lead to improved outcomes for them. This paper examines whether longer tenure in the formal sector affects female empowerment, marriage and fertility decisions. I exploit plausibly exogenous variation in duration worked from a natural experiment created by a large Indian textile firm0 s decision to replace fixed-term contracts with daily employment contracts. Using administrative data from this firm, I find that the more time women were exposed to a fixed-term contract, the longer they stayed in the formal labor market. Surveying 985 workers about 4.5 years after they first entered the textile industry, I find that the women who worked longer delayed marriage, without any detrimental effect on eventual spousal quality. A longer duration of employment also translates to reductions in desired fertility. Further, there are strong spillover effects within the family, as age of marriage increases for younger sisters and school dropout rates decrease for younger brothers. I find evidence that an increase in female empowerment and autonomy is a plausible channel for these effects. These findings provide new information on the impact of duration of employment outside the parental village for young women in rural areas.

URL : http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/asivasankaran/files/jobmarketpaper_anithasivasankaran.pdf

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