Women's labor force participation in Hong Kong: 1991–2011

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Using Hong Kong population census and by-census data from 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011, this study examined the trends and determinants of women's labor force participation (WLFP) in Hong Kong. It looked at the determinants of WLFP from the perspectives of availability, marketability, market demand, and new household economic theory. The results showed that the labor force participation for married women has been rising over the study period, but their availability to the labor market is still constrained by childrearing responsibilities. This is in spite of the fact that their education levels and the existence of domestic help are factors that ostensibly make it more possible for women to stay in the labor force. It also showed that other family members’ income (e.g., the husband's income) is an important factor for women's participation in the labor force, supporting the idea that the decision to stay in the labor force vs. to stay at home is a joint decision of the family. The study also implies that economic restructuring and the fluctuations in immigrant composition influence WLFP. Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-64
JournalChinese Sociological Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Tong, Y., & Chiu, S. W.-K. (2017). Women's labor force participation in Hong Kong: 1991–2011. Chinese Sociological Review, 49(1), 35-64. doi: 10.1080/21620555.2016.1166045


  • Women employees
  • Working mothers
  • Labor supply
  • Labor market
  • Labor demand
  • China
  • Hong Kong


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