Labour market entries and exits of women from different origin countries in the UK

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number

CPD 03/16


CReAM Discussion Paper Series


Publication date

June 1, 2016


In the context of increasing women’s labour force participation
(LFP) across Western countries, there remain large differences in LFP for women
of different ethnic origins. While existing research has demonstrated that part
of these differences can be attributed to compositional differences (age,
qualifications, family context etc.) and to differences in gender role
attitudes and religiosity, residual ‘ethnic effects’ typically remain. Further
insight into the drivers of such differences has the potential to inform us
about factors shaping women’s LFP more widely. In this paper we exploit a
largescale longitudinal study of the UK to investigate ethnic differences in
both LFP entry and exit probabilities. We examine how far we can account for
overall ethnic differences in LFP entry and exit, taking account of individual
characteristics, gender role attitudes and religiosity, and the contribution of
relevant life-course events. We find that, adjusting for all these factors,
Indian and Caribbean women do not differ from White majority women in their
labour force entry and exit probabilities but that Pakistani and Bangladeshi
women are less likely to enter and more likely to exit the labour market, while
Black African women have higher entry rates. We also find that Pakistani and
Bangladeshi women’s labour market entries and exits are less sensitive to
partnership and child-bearing events than other women’s.



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