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Class Year

2015

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between economic development and female labor force participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Using a panel data set of 20 countries in the region for the period of 1990-2012, I develop an econometric model that tests the U-shape hypothesis. This study builds upon previous literature examining the U-shape hypothesis in time series studies for developing countries, and cross-country studies. The results of this paper suggest that there is a U-shaped relationship between economic growth and female labor force participation rates. The MENA region’s low female labor force participation rates can be explained in part by their transition towards the bottom of the U-shaped curve.