Labour participation of Arab women: estimates of the fertility to labour supply link
Research conducted in this paper has two objectives. First, to review recent aggregate trends in Arab female employment and its link to fertility. Second, to apply a two-step econometric model to micro data sets of four Arab countries in order to estimate the impact of fertility and its correlates on the labour supply of Arab women. The model combines a Poisson fertility count function with a Probit binary function. We find that the two-step-modelling framework provides important insights about the fertility - participation link. The Poisson maximum likelihood estimation demonstrates that age at marriage, women's education, infant mortality and preference for male offspring are important determinants of fertility. In all countries examined, our findings confirm that fertility produces a strong negative influence on women's labour participation. Therefore, policies that are designed to influence participation will be more effective if consistent companion fertility policies are in place.