Female Labour Force Participation in Saudi Arabia and its Determinants
More details
Hide details
Finance and Banking Department, Dar Al Uloom University, Saudi Arabia
Submission date: 2020-10-07
Final revision date: 2021-01-06
Acceptance date: 2021-01-16
Publication date: 2021-03-31
Corresponding author
Mary Oluwatoyin Agboola   

College of Business, Finance and Banking Department, Dar Al Uloom University, Saudi Arabia
GNPJE 2021;305(1):135-152
Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 recognized female labor force participation as an important component for economic growth. This study investigates the relationship between female labor force participation rate, female tertiary school enrolment, female life expectancy and per capita income measured quarterly between 1991 and 2017. The study employs traditional unit root tests of Augmented Dickey-Fuller (ADF), Phillips-Perron (PP) and Kwiatkowski–Phillips–Schmidt–Shin (KPSS) complemented by Zivot and Andrews (ZA) test. Furthermore, for robustness check, combined cointegration test as prescribed by Bayer and Hanck (2013) and Pesaran ARDL bound tests were performed. Toda-Yamamoto causality test examined the causality flow among the variables. The result posits all independent variables have positive significant effect on female labor force participation rate within Saudi Arabia; rendering a policy recommendation: higher female labor participation can be achieved through investment in female education, health sector and achieving economic growth.
Andrei T., Mirică A., Teodorescu D., Dascălu E. D. [2016], Main Determinants of Labor Force Participation in the Case of Metropolitan Roma People, Journal for Economic Forecasting, 3: 144–163.
Ambree F., Humera S. [2009], Tracing out the U-shape Relationship between Female Labor Force Participation Rate and Economic Development for Pakistan, International Journal of Social Economics, 36 (1):182–198.
Asmari M. G. H. [2008], Saudi Labor Force: Challenges and Ambitions, JKAU: Arts & Humanities, 16 (2): 19–59.
Banerjee A., Dolado J., Mestre R. [1998], Error-correction mechanism tests for cointegration in a single-equation framework, Journal of Time Series Analysis, 19 (3): 267–283.
Bayer C., Hanck C. [2013], Combining non-cointegration tests, Journal of Time Series Analysis, 34 (1), 83–95.
Becker G. S. [1965], A theory of the allocation of time, Economic Journal, 75 (299): 493–517.
Becker G. S. [1994], Human Capital Revisited, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, 3 rd edition: 15–28, University of Chicago Press.
Boswijk H. P. [1995], Efficient inference on cointegration parameters in structural error correction models, J Econ, 69 (1): 133–158.
Dayıoğlu M., Kırdar M. G. [2010], Determinants of and Trends in Labor Force Participation of Women in Turkey, State Planning Organization of the Republic of Turkey and World Bank Welfare and Social Policy Analytical Work Program, Working Paper No. 5: 75467.
Engle R. F., Granger C. W. [1987], Co-integration and error correction: representation, estimation, and testing, Econometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society: 251–276.
Goldin C. [1994], The U-shaped female labor force function in economic development and economic history, Working Paper No. 4707; National Bureau of Economic Research: Cambridge, MA, USA.
Güven Lisaniler F., Bhatti F. [2005], Determinants of Female Labor Force Participation: A Study of North Cyprus, Review of Social, Economic & Business Studies, 5 (6): 209–226.
Heckman J. [1978], A Partial Survey of Recent Research on the Labor Supply of Women, American Economic Review, 68: 200–207.
Huq M. M., Clunies-Ross A., Forsyth D. [2009], Development economics, Mcgraw Hill.
International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Economic Outlook, Cyclical Upswing, Structural Changes 2018, available online: (accessed: 18 November 2019).
Johansen S., Juselius K. [1990], Maximum likelihood estimation and inference on cointegration with applications to the demand for money, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 52 (2): 169–210.
Johansen S. [1991], Estimation and hypothesis testing of cointegration vectors in Gaussian vector autoregressive models, Econometrica 59 (6): 1551–1580.
Kambiz P., Gollu R. B., Gashsti H. P., Shahrivar R. B. [2011], Studying the relationship between health and economic growth in OIC member states, Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 3 (8): 1041–1054.
Khadim Z., Akram W. [2013], Female labor force participation in the formal sector: An empirical analysis from PSLM (2007–2008), Middle East Journal of Scientific Research, 14 (11): 1480–1488.
King A. G. [1978], Industrial structure, the flexibility of working hours and women’s labor force participation, Review of Economics and Statistics, 60: 399–407.
Kizilgol O. A. [2012], Kadinlarin isgucune katiliminin belirleyicileri: Ekonometrik bir analiz [The determinants of women’s labor participation: An econometric analysis], Doguş Universitesi Dergisi, 13 (1): 88–101.
Mahumud R. A., Rawal L. B., Hossain G., Hossain R., Islam N. [2013], Impact of Life Expectancy on Economics Growth and Health Care Expenditures: A Case of Bangladesh, Universal Journal of Public Health, 1 (4): 180–186.
Mincer J. [1962], Labor force participation of married women: a study of labor supply, in: Lewis H. G. (ed.), Aspects of Labor Economics, Princeton: Princeton University Press: 63–105.
Morikawa Y. [2015], The Opportunities and Challenges for Female Labor Force Participation in Morocco, Global Economy and Development Working Paper 86, July 2015.
Mujahid N. and Zafar N. U. [2012], Economic Growth-Female Labor Force Participation Nexus: An Empirical Evidence for Pakistan, The Pakistan Development Review, 51 (4): 565–586.
Njimanted G. F., Mukete E. M. [2016], The implication of female labor participation on economic growth in Cameroon, International Journal of Development and Sustainability, 4 (1): 34–47.
Naseem S., Dhruva K. [2017], Issues and challenges of Saudi female labor force participation and the role of Vision 2030, International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, 7 (4): 23–27.
Pesaran M. H., Shin Y., Smith J. R. [2001], Bounds Testing Approaches to the Analysis of Level Relationships, Journal of Applied Econometrics, 16 (3): 289–326.
Phillips P. C., Ouliaris S. [1990], Asymptotic properties of residual based tests for cointegration, Econometrica, 12: 165–193.
Phillips P. C. B., Perron P. [1988], Testing for a unit root in time series regression, Biometrika, 75 (2): 335–346.
Sackey H. A. [2005], Female Labour Force Participation in Ghana: The Effects of Education, African Economic Research Consortium, Nairobi AERC Research Paper 150.
Tansel A. [2002], Economic Development and Female Labor Force Participation in Turkey: Time Series Evidence and Cross-Province Estimates, Working Papers in Economics; ERC- Economic Research Center, Middle East Technical University: Cankaya/Ankara, Turkey 01/05.
Vision 2030 [2017], Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, available online: (accessed: 4 January 2019).
World Bank [2013], Opening Doors: Gender Equality and Development in the Middle East and North Africa.
World Bank [2018], Labor force participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15+); modeled ILO estimate, (accessed: 18 November 2019).
World Bank [2019], Labor force participation rate, female (% of female population ages 15+); modeled.
ILO estimate, (accessed: 16 January 2020).
World Bank [2018], Labor force participation rate, female, Washington, D. C., (, accessed: 5 March 2019).
World development indicators, Washington, D. C., The World Bank, https://databank.worldbank. org/source/world-development-indicators (accessed: January 2019).
World Economic Forum [2018], The Global Gender Gap Report 2018, available at https://www. (accessed: 16 January 2019).
Zivot E., Andrews D. [1992], Further evidence of great crash, the oil price shock and unit root hypothesis, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 10: 251–270.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top