Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 7 > Issue 1

Oil, Islam, Women, and Geography: A Comment on Ross (2008)

Matthew Groh, Innovations for Poverty Action, matthew.groh@gmail.com , Casey Rothschild, Wellesley College, crothsch@wellesley.edu
Suggested Citation
Matthew Groh and Casey Rothschild (2012), "Oil, Islam, Women, and Geography: A Comment on Ross (2008)", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 7: No. 1, pp 69-87. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00011036

Publication Date: 22 Mar 2012
© 2012 M. Groh and C. Rothschild
Human rights,  Comparative politics,  Women in politics,  Religion and politics


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In this article:
Cross-National Regressions 
Fixed-effect First-differenced Regressions 


In "Oil, Islam, and Women," Michael Ross (2008a) develops a gendered Dutch Disease theory, which points to oil wealth as a potential explanation for the slow progress towards gender equality in the Middle East. He then presents empirical analysis in support of this theory and concludes that "women in the Middle East are underrepresented in the workforce and in government because of oil — not Islam" (p. 107). This brief comment re-examines Ross's data and finds that they do not justify his conclusion: upon closer examination, his data do not provide evidence that oil rents causally affect female labor force participation rates via the gendered Dutch Disease. We argue that, in fact, his data are as or more consistent with Islam playing an important role in explaining the lagging female labor force participation rates than they are with oil playing an important role.