Journal Article
Heterogeneous impact of internet availability on female labor market outcomes in an emerging economy

Evidence from Indonesia

PART OF A FORTHCOMING JOURNAL SPECIAL ISSUE OF WORLD DEVELOPMENT | Greater female labor market participation benefits not only women's empowerment and the well-being of their families, but also the economy as a whole. Yet the labor force participation of women in developing countries is relatively stagnant, even with higher levels of economic development and better educational attainment. Women are also more likely to work in the informal sector and unskilled jobs.

The arrival of the internet and the subsequent creation of internet-based jobs may positively affect women's labor market outcomes. In this paper, we examine the effect of internet availability on five dimensions of women's labor market outcomes in Indonesia, focusing on the heterogeneity in the impact of internet availability on female labor market outcomes.

We construct a balanced pseudo panel covering all districts in the country for 2008–18. We find that internet availability has a small positive effect on the labor force participation and full-time employment of younger or low-educated women. We find a small negative effect on the likelihood of holding skilled jobs for these groups of women. We also find a small negative effect on job formality.

These effects are concentrated among low-educated women. The findings are mainly explained by the kind of internet-based jobs that were created in the country. On balance, we do not find evidence that the internet significantly improves women's labor market outcomes.

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