Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Carole A. Green, Ph. D.


Married women, Single women, And women heads of household, Micro data, Informal sector


The purpose of this study is to fill the gap in research about women in Venezuela by investigating the determinants of their labor force participation between 1995 and 1998. The Central Office of Statistics and Information in Venezuela provides cross-sectional data collected semiannually about individual, demographic, socio-economic and geographical characteristics of individuals living in Venezuela during this period. This study uses binomial and multinomial logit models to test a number of hypotheses. First, the full sample of women between 15 and 60 years old is used to investigate the importance of individual, demographic, socioeconomic, and geographical characteristics in the labor force participation decision, also controlling for a time trend. The same decision is also analyzed for three subsamples: married women, single women, and women heads of household. Comparisons are made between each subsample and the full sample, and also among the different subsamples.

Next, multinomial regressions using the same explanatory variables are performed to examine labor market behavior when there is a three-way choice: whether to participate in the formal sector, the informal sector or not to participate in the labor market at all. The multinomial regressions are also performed on the three subsamples as well as on the full sample. Again comparisons are made between each subsample and the full sample and also among the three subsamples. The results of these analyses show considerable differences in motivating factors among the three groups. The conclusion that must be drawn from this research is that one cannot generalize about the women's labor force participation just by studying the behavior of women in the aggregate. The relative importance of motivating factors depends strongly on the specific subsample to which a woman belongs, a fact unrevealed by previous empirical work.

The more detailed analyses produced by this dissertation provide deeper understanding of the labor force participation of Venezuelan women. This information will make a valuable contribution to policy-makers who seek to encourage the important economic contribution of women to this previously under-studied labor market.