Women’s informal labor market participation in Ecuador

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Dec 2022
This paper describes trends, correlates, and critical patterns driving women's labor force participation in Ecuador between 2015 and 2021. We aim to understand better what factors cause women to choose to work in the informal sector in that country. To do that, we process data from seven waves (2015 to 2021) of the Ecuadorian National Survey of Employment and Unemployment. We document changes through time in female employment trends, and isolate key patterns of the statistical associations between household characteristics and those trends. We found an increase in the share of 15-year-old or older women who were active and occupied, as well as an increase in their holding of informal jobs. In addition, OLS estimates point to working informally as a second-best strategy where women -economically constrained, low-skilled agents- substitute for formal employment, opting for informal jobs when facing obstacles in meeting basic needs.