Global Poverty Research Group

Education and women's labour market outcomes in India

The research question

This research poses the question: to what extent is education responsible for the differential labour market outcomes of women and men in urban India.  In particular, to what extent does education contribute to women’s observed lower earnings than men. As the Table below shows, women earn significantly less than men and also have fewer average years of education than men. However  they enjoy higher returns than men to each extra year of education they possess. The decomposition findings suggest that women do suffer high levels of wage discrimination in the Indian urban labour market, but that education contributes little to this discrimination:  the wage-disadvantage effect of women’s lower years of education than men is entirely offset by the wage-advantage effect of women’s higher returns to education than men’s. The data also indicate that for both men and women, returns to education rise with education level, confirming the findings of other recent educational rates of return studies in India and elsewhere.

 

Madhya Pradesh

Tamil Nadu

Means

women

men

women

Men

Wages (rupees per hour)

13.60

23.34

8.50

17.29

Years of education

5.4

7.2

4.0

6.3

Marginal return to education

10.8*

6.1*

9.4*

8.1*

Coefficient on dummy for:

       

Primary education

0.176

0.084

0.062

0.037

middle education

-0.024

0.360*

0.400

0.292*

secondary education

0.889*

0.787*

0.932*

0.664*

higher education

1.414*

1.075*

1.518*

1.176*

Note: * signifies that the coefficient is significant at the 1% level.

Relevant recent papers

Kingdon, G. and J. Unni. “Education and Women’s Labour Market Outcomes in India”, Education Economics, 9, No. 2: 173-195, August 2001.

Kingdon, G. “Does the Labour Market Explain Lower Female Schooling in India?” Journal of Development Studies, 35, No. 1: 39-65, October, 1998.

Reseachers to contact for this project

Geeta Kingdon