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Female labor participation in Iran: a structural model estimation

Shadi Farahzadi (London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK)
Mohammad Rahmati (Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 2 March 2020

Issue publication date: 12 March 2020




The purpose of this study is to determine why female labor force participation in Iran has been less than 20 percent.


The authors estimate a structural dynamic matching model of female participation using individual panel data in Iran. The study incorporates many factors such as wage, child cost, education, spouse employment and job market search parameters.


The study finds that gender discrimination in job finding has the biggest effect in reducing the rate of women's participation. If all market differences disappear, the female participation rate will increase by 12 percentage points to almost 27 percent, which is still much lower than that of developed countries with the average of 60 percent.


This study provides the first structural search model using a developing country's microdata to study female labor participation.



Special thanks to Mohammad Vesal, Seyed Ali Madanizadeh, and Amir Reza Mohsenzadeh Kermani for their comments. We are also grateful to the staff at Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) for providing data.This paper is part of master thesis of Ms. Farahzadi at the Sharif University of Technology.


Farahzadi, S. and Rahmati, M. (2020), "Female labor participation in Iran: a structural model estimation", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 1-19.



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