UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Labour force participation rates and poverty in Canadian metropolitan areas Kunin, Roslyn


A theoretical model is developed explaining participation in the labour force in terms of the utility obtained from working, the likelihood of obtaining a job, and the costs associated with getting a job. Both discouraged and added worker behaviour are explained in terms of the model and the much greater likelihood of finding evidence of the former is noted. Regression analysis is then applied to 1961 census tract data for the major cities of Canada in order to discover the determinants of labour force participation rates and especially the influence of unemployment, on these rates. Separate regressions are run for high, middle, and low income tracts. Regressions are also separated by sex. For males, it is found that unemployment, wage levels, age, education, and marriage are important in determining participation rates. The influence of these variables differs significantly among the income groups. A strong discouraged worker effect is found. For women, similar results are found, but children, housing conditions, ethnic variables and the unemployment and earning rates of males also influence their labour force behaviour. Some slight evidence for added worker behaviour was found among the higher income groups. Similar regressions were then run using 1951 census data. Although there was evidence that the influence of some of the socio-demographic variables had changed over time, discouraged worker behaviour still predominated over added worker behaviour for all groups with the exception of higher income women. The results of this thesis were found to conform with the results obtained in earlier studies in the U.S. and Canada.

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