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Effects of health on changing labor force participation in Pakistan

Ayesha Mushtaq, Asma Mohsin and Khalid Zaman*

Author Affiliations

Department of Management Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad, Pakistan

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SpringerPlus 2013, 2:610  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-610

Published: 15 November 2013


The objective of the study investigates the effects of health on changing labor force participation during Pakistan’s economic transition in the 1980s, a period of several economic liberalization and international integration on the health and financial sectors. The study employed the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) co-integration technique to estimate the short- and long-run elasticities, while the Wald coefficient restrictions tests was used to determine the dynamic short-run causality between the variables over a period of 1975–2011. The study was limited to a few variables, including age dependency, health expenditures, trade openness, population per bed, life expectancy, gross capital formation, mortality rate, secondary school enrolment and labor force participation rate, in order to manage robust data analysis. The results suggest that infant mortality rate (IMR), gross capital formation (GCF) and secondary school enrolment (SSE) decrease the labor force participation rate in the long-run, as if there is one percent increase IMR, GCF and SSE, labor force participation decreases by 0.653 percent, 0.137 percent and 0.220 percent respectively, however, these results invert the relationship in short-run. The study also finds that health expenditures has positive and significant impact on labor force participation rate in the short-run, but this result disappear in the long-run. Trade liberalization has a positive effect in the short run, while a negative effect is observed in the long run upon labor force participation rate of Pakistan. The study confirms that Pakistan did not enjoy substantial growth benefits related to health care because human capital (secondary school enrolment), trade openness, public investment and infant mortality rate have a negative impact on labor force participation rate. These findings have important policy implications.

H51, I21, J21.

Labor force participation rate; Health expenditures; Secondary school enrolment; Life expectancy at birth; Pakistan