Can globalisation promote female labour force participation?

Harpal Sangha, Robert Riegler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aims to analyse whether globalisation, i.e. informational and economic globalisation, promoted or impeded female labour force participation (FLFP) in South Asia. Design/methodology/approach: The KOF Globalisation Index is used alongside a fixed effect panel data Discroll–Kraay estimator to control for unobserved factors and achieve robust standard errors. The sample covers all South Asian countries for the period 1999–2015. Findings: Globalisation does not advocate the “feminisation of employment”; in fact, the impact is negative. This is driven by the economic dimension of globalisation, particularly for younger women. However, this impact is mitigated by informational globalisation that affects FLFP positively, especially for women aged 35 years and older. Practical implications: Without support of the right governmental policies, there is a danger of globalisation creating new obstacles for women to enter the labour market. Originality/value: This paper adds to the existing literature by using the more comprehensive KOF globalisation measure to identify the overall effect of globalisation on FLFP in South Asia, being the first study to analyse the impact of informational alongside economic globalisation, and investigating whether globalisation affects the labour force participation rate of various female age cohorts differently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-322
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Development Issues
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2020


  • Female labour force participation
  • Globalisation
  • Panel data
  • South Asia


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