März 2011

IZA DP No. 5589: Egyptian Men Working Abroad: Labor Supply Responses by the Women Left Behind

revised version published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18 (S1), S98-S114

Female labor force participation has remained low in Egypt. This paper examines whether male international migration provides a leeway for women to enter the labor market and/or to increase their labor supply. In line with previous studies, we find a decrease in wage work in both rural and urban areas. However, women living in rural areas and affected by migration are much more likely to be employed in non-wage activities (i.e. unpaid family work) and subsistence work compared to women in non-migrant households. Furthermore, we find evidence that this labor supply response is driven by the household’s need to replace the migrant's labor rather than by a loosening of a financing constraint on family enterprises made possible by the flow of remittances.