Cultural Factors and Female Participation in Chile

Dante Contreras
Gonzalo Plaza
Feminist Economics
2010
May

Abstract

This article analyzes determinants of female participation in the Chilean labor force using classic determinants such as age, education, marital status, and number of children. The results indicate that the greater a woman's education level, the greater her labor participation; that older women participate more, though the rate of growth of this effect is decreasing; and the number of children that a woman has is negatively correlated to her decision to participate in the labor force. The article also examines machismo and other cultural values that influence female labor participation. The evidence suggests that the more the women have internalized machista and conservative cultural values, the less they participate in the labor market. Finally, the article concludes that the existence of these cultural factors as a group more than compensates for the positive effect of human capital variables and is statistically associated with low female labor participation in Chile.