Sample selection analysis of wage equation for women in ondo state Nigeria.

Author:Olorunfemi, Sola


The changing role of women and growing awareness of their economic inequality with respect to men have brought international attention to women's issues in the world in recent decades.

Nigeria men and women do not share the same level of economic development. It is therefore, of great interest to know what women's economic positions in Nigeria with different economic development levels and how much their positions have improved with economic development.

A seemingly common belief is that the economic condition of women improves with economic development. This is because economic development improves the population's economy, thereby improving women's absolute economic condition. It also increases the education of women and the rest of society, which raises awareness about women's inferior position, thereby prompting remedial action.

As much as this is a logical belief, the terribly disadvantaged economic position of women in Nigerian economy seems to suggest that economic development is not the only factor, which affects women's economic status. Note that when talking about women's economic position, one always means relative to men. Economic development certainly can improve everybody's economic status, but it does not necessarily improve the position of women relative to men.

Furthermore, if traditional attitudes are deeply rooted in a society, it may take a long time for there to be an acknowledgement of women's subordinate position and attempts to improve it.

Young women, particularly in Nigeria have been socially and economically oppressed for so long that they have low 'aspiration wages' and 'low efficiency' wages. They are prepared to work for low wages for long workweeks and when their productivity declined after a few years of youthful diligence they are replaced by new cohorts (1). According to (2) Nigerian men do not value the economic contribution of their wives. They do not view the women's job and household work as especially taxing. For the most part, Nigerian men consistently take their wives for granted. Moreover, even with economic opportunities men often abandon women, expecting them to carry the financial burden of the family.

There exist a corpus of literature on the wage equation for workers in Nigeria, but with little or no reference to the wage equation for women. This has given credence to the assertion that in spite of changes in societal outlook of the capabilities of Nigerian women and her significant contribution to the development process (3), issues in the determinant of wage for workers in Nigeria are rarely treated from the gender point of view. There is therefore an urgent need for studies that look at the determinants of wage for women workers in Nigeria since according to (2) that traditional or tribal society in Nigeria expected women to be significant wage earners n the family.

The objective of this study is to investigate the factors influencing wages of Nigerian women workers.

Many studies have reported that women are ranked normally at the lower end of the occupational hierarchy(4-6). According to them; women's independence by and large depends on their economic independence, which is determined by whether they have paid employment. A few studies have argued that, apart from letting women have more independence, increasing levels of female employment tend to result in women having greater influence on family decisions. Thus, female labour participation is a very important aspect of women's relative economic status(7-10)

The fact that women tend to work in the informal sector, family production and volunteer positions means there may be an underestimation of their work in labour statistics and national income accounts, something that have been pointed out frequently in the last two decades (10), (11), (12). It is very hard to value non-market work in monetary terms.

Some studies suggest that in an agricultural economy, most family members work to some extent if they are physically capable of doing so (7). Nevertheless, this kind of participation does not provide females with independent income, and hence, a higher degree of economic independence.

Therefore, female non-agricultural participation, especially in wage, salary and selfemployed sectors, provides more meaningful measurements from the point of view of improving women's economic status.

Empirical studies often use husband's earnings, schooling, work experience, number of children and other family background as variables to explain female wage earning.

The relationship between wage on one hand, and variables such as age, experience, number of children, working at home, education on the other hand is well documented in the literature. There is robust evidence that real wages increase with both age and tenure(13-16). Many economists would argue that this happens because worker productivity rises with experience. However, there is enough evidence to dispute such idea. Many empirical studies show that older workers earn more than younger workers, even holding productivity constant(17-19).


Data were collected from 250 women heads of households in Ondo State through a multi-stage random system technique. 125 women were sampled, each from rural and urban centre in Ondo State. Data collected included total husband earning per month, home production of women, education attainment of women and number of children in the household.

Theoretical Framework and Model Specification: In both classical and neoclassical economic theory, the wage of a female worker can be...

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