Discussion Paper

No. 2018-6 | January 18, 2018
What accounts for the increase in female labor force participation in Spain


Over the last three decades, Spanish female labor force participation (LFP) has tremendously increased, particularly, that of married women. At the same time, the income tax structure, the fiscal treatment of families, policies to reconcile family and work, and the education distribution of married couples have substantially changed. By contrast, the gender wage gap has remained quite stable. In this paper the author investigates the relevance of these factors in accounting for the growth in Spanish married women labor force participation from 1994 to 2008. For that purpose, she uses Kaygusuz (Taxes and female labor supply, 2010) model of household labor market participation, and data from Eurostat to calibrate the model and evaluate its performance. The model successfully accounts for the rise in aggregate female labor force participation, and matches hours worked by males and females. The model is also able to replicate the pattern of female labor force participation by age and education. From this analysis we can conclude that changes in tax rates and in the education distribution are the main factors behind the increase in female LFP during the late nineties, while changes in child care costs and earning profiles are mainly responsible for the subsequent growth in the 2000s.

JEL Classification:

J11, J12, J13, J22, J31


  • Downloads: 696


Cite As

Victoria Osuna (2018). What accounts for the increase in female labor force participation in Spain. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2018-6, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2018-6

Comments and Questions

Anonymous - Referee Report 1
February 27, 2018 - 10:18

see attached file

Victoria Osuna - Reply to Report on MS2524
March 01, 2018 - 19:58

I hereby upload the reply to the Report on MS2524

Anonymous - Referee Report 2
March 12, 2018 - 07:58

This paper investigates what macroeconomic factors account for the increase in female labour market participation over the last years in Spain. To that purpose, a parsimonious model is calibrated and used to show that in the nineties most of this increase was due to changes in tax rates and in ...[more]

... the education distribution, while in the 2000s changes in child care costs
and earning profiles are the major determinants of the observed increase.

The paper is clearly written, very well motivated and the conclusions are consistent with the anlaysis performed in the previous pages. The paper covers a gap for Spain is one of the countries where the female labour market participation has increased more markedly over the last two decades. This notwithstanding, little is known yet about the determinants of such increase. This paper sheds light on the topic.