Unlike the global trend, India has witnessed a secular decline in women's employment rates over the past few decades. We use parametric and semi-parametric decomposition techniques to show that changes in individual and household attributes fully account for the fall in women's labor force participation rate in 1987-1999 and account for half of the decline in this rate in 1999-2009. Our findings underscore increasing education levels amongst rural married women and the men in their households as the most prominent attributes contributing to this decline. We provide suggestive evidence that a rise in more educated women's returns to home production, relative to their returns in the labor market, may have adversely affected female labor force participation rates in India.
female labor force participation decomposition analysis education India