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Workforce participation rates - How does Australia compare?

Staff working paper

This paper by Joanna Abhayaratna and Ralph Lattimore was released on 11 January 2007. This paper examines the comparability of international workforce participation rates and seeks to better understand the magnitude of the gap between Australia's workforce participation rates and those of other OECD countries.

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  • Contents

Contents, Preface, Acknowledgments, Abbreviations, Summary

1   Why does workforce participation matter?
1.1   Population ageing heightens interest in participation
1.2   Scope for improving workforce participation
1.3   A guide to the paper

2   Australia's workforce participation experience
2.1   A snap-shot of Australia's workforce
2.2   Trends in workforce participation
2.3   Underutilised labour

3   International comparisons based on published data
3.1   Australia's participation rate - how does it compare?
3.2   Recent history of Australia's relative ranking

4   Deriving more meaningful comparisons
4.1   Data discrepancies - real or statistical differences?
4.2   Age structures and participation rates

5   Adjusting the data - what does it mean for participation gaps?
5.1   The impact of adjusting for statistical differences
5.2   Country specific adjustments

6   Some implications

A   Supporting statistics

B   GDP per capita and the participation gap