The effects of marital status on labour market participation, employment and wages in Lesotho.
Research across the world has found that married men, are more likely to participate in the labour force, more preferred by employers and earn more their unmarried counterparts. Whereas for women, studies found that it is the unmarried women who participate more in the labour market, get employed and earn more than married women. Using the 2008 Integrated Labour Force Survey, the study aims is to analyse and estimate the effect that marital status has on one’s labour market participation decision, likelihood of finding employment and level of earnings in Lesotho. This topic is deemed important because it gives some insight into the male-female differentials in labour market attachment and wages in Lesotho. It has been hypothesised in the literature that part of the wage differential observed between men and women can be attributed to the specialisation in gender roles by married men and women. This study thus evaluates this literature in the context of the Lesotho’s labour market. The study extensively test a number of hypotheses that have been developed in the literature to explain the relationship between marital status, employment and earnings. The hypotheses are that (1) marriage increases labour force participation, (perhaps employment) and earnings for males but (2) marriage decreases labour force participation, (perhaps employment) and earnings for females. In order to test these hypotheses, probit models were used to estimate the determinants of labour force participation and employment, as well as using interval regression to estimate earnings equations amongst the employed. Results shows that though marital status plays a role in labour market attachment and wages, not all marital categories were important in determining participation, employment and earnings. This suggests that there are other important factors which determine labour market outcomes other than marital status. Educational, household, age and occupational variables were also found to be important in the determination of the three stages of the labour market. However, in all the three stages monogamous marriage was the one that was significant for both men and women in determining participation, employment and earnings.
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