Left Behind to Farm? Women's Labor Re-Allocation in Rural China

Ren Mu, Texas A&M University
Dominique van de Walle, World Bank Group

The transformation of work during China’s rapid economic development is associated with a substantial but little noticed re-allocation of traditional farm labor among women, with some doing much less and some much more. We study how the work, time allocation and health of non-migrant women are affected by the out-migration of others in their household. We find that the women left behind are doing more farm work than would have otherwise been the case. We also find evidence that this is a persistent effect, and not just temporary re-allocation. For some types of women (notably older women) the labor re-allocation response comes out of their leisure.

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Presented in Session 126: Gender and the Division of Labor in Developing Countries