A woman’s work is never done: fiscal policy and women’s labour supply in Malawi

Author: Frank Kalizinje (fkalizinje@yahoo.co.uk)

ISSN: 2709-8575
Affiliations: Business Intelligence Analyst & Researcher: Malawi Revenue Authority
Source: African Multidisciplinary Tax Journal, 2021 Issue 1, p. 42-60


The study sought to identify factors that fiscal policy can target to induce beneficial female labour force participation (FLFP) in formal wage, casual (ganyu) and agricultural labour. To achieve this, the study first used the Multinomial Logit Model on Malawi’s Second Integrated Household Survey dataset (IHS2) to predict the occupational distribution and to test for differences in the factors associated with the choice among the three labour outcomes. This helped to identify channels through which gender-responsive fiscal policies can target and enhance FLFP and in turn uplift women’s welfare. The empirical results revealed that when women are poor, residing in rural areas, not married or are heads of households and are least educated, they are more likely to supply casual and/or agricultural labour compared to formal wage labour. Therefore, to enhance women’s welfare through FLFP, gender-sensitive spending programmes should target women with such characteristics. The study further recommended increased gender-sensitive spending on farm credit and inputs, literacy education, girls’ education and public-works programmes. It further encouraged strict adherence to gender budgeting at national and local government level. To finance these proposals the study suggested introducing a levy on alcohol and tobacco the revenue of which should strictly be used to empower girls and enhance women’s labour supply.