The Impact of Financial Access on Female Labour Force Participation: Evidence from Panel Estimation
This paper examines the relationship between financial access and economic empowerment among females, i.e., female labour force participation by testing a panel data of 51 countries ranging from 2004 to 2016. The number of bank branches and automated teller machines, both in thousand square feet and a hundred thousand adults, are applied as financial access indicators. The estimation method employed is the dynamic panel system generalized method of moment estimators. The control variables in the equation are the life expectancy, gross domestic product per capita, and female education enrolment. The results showed that bank branches have more noticeable impacts than automated teller machines in affecting the female labour force participation rate, implying that bank branches' services have a more substantial influence on women empowerment than automated teller machines. Furthermore, financial access indicators show a negative association with female labour force participation, probably due to female discrimination in financial access or the income effect caused by better financial access. Another possible reason is that the development policies could have bypassed women, as indicated by previous studies. To overcome this situation, governments could improve their financial service to ensure that financial access benefits women empowerment, including exploring the microfinance and special loans for female borrowers.
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