DP40 | Participation in Paid Work: Multiple Regression Analysis of the Women and Employment Survey


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Models to explain the chances of economic activity, employment and full-time work in a national cross-section of British women in 1980 in terms of a number of demographic and economic variables are estimated by OLS. Marital status differentials are minor once the presence of dependent children and the level of alternative income are controlled. Earning power is also an important factor; it is imputed on the basis of work history information at the level of pay associated with the best paying occupation, not necessarily that current or most recent, on the grounds that mature women workers are often over-qualified for the jobs with which they combine domestic responsibilities. Regional variations, remote childbearing and marital history, and fertility intentions have little or no explanatory power. Participation rates among women who are neither students nor permanently sick are also reduced by responsibility for adult dependents, being married to a non-earning husband and living in an area of high unemployment. Through the last two factors adverse demand conditions reduce both the chances of women having jobs, and to a smaller extent, of married women describing themselves as economically active.