Research Programs

Gender Equality and the Economy

Gender Equality and the Economy

While gender inequalities have diminished in some aspects of life, they remain deeply rooted in others. In no country around the world do men and women enjoy equality in economic and political participation, earnings, educational attainment, general health, and physical security.

The Levy Institute’s Gender Equality and the Economy (GEE) program focuses on the ways in which economic processes and policies affect gender equality, and examines the influence of gender inequalities on economic outcomes. GEE’s goal is to stimulate reexamination of key economic concepts, models, and indicators—with a particular view to reformulating policy. It offers a broad view of what an economy is and how it functions, bringing into the analysis not only paid work, but also unpaid work (unpaid family work, work devoted to subsistence activities, caring for household members, and community volunteer work), an integral and key component of all economies. Ultimately, the program seeks to contribute knowledge and recommend policies that promote gender equality.

Our Research

GEE research concentrates on two primary themes: the gender dimensions of macroeconomic issues and international economic policy; and gender equality, poverty, and well-being in national and international perspective. In the past decade, a growing body of work has explored how macroeconomic outcomes are affected by gender inequalities, and how gender inequalities are influenced by macroeconomic policies. Although gender equality is not the focus of macroeconomic policy, such policies cannot be assumed to be gender neutral. Does a requirement to balance budgets make it more difficult to reduce gender inequality? Given the inability of markets to guarantee a job for all who seek one, how can public policy that promotes full employment be inclusive of gender equality considerations? How can economic growth and gender equality be made compatible? Can gender equality improve the employment/inflation trade-off?

The Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being (LIMEW) was established in order to improve existing official measures of economic well-being and to allow for accurate cross-sectional and intertemporal comparisons. GEE has enhanced this area of the Levy Institute’s work by developing research on the intersection of gender inequality, expanded income, and time poverty. This research—including the reexamination of UN indicators for measuring gender inequality, new analyses of time-use data, and work preparatory to formulating alternative policy indicators—was central to the development of the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty, a new, innovative income measure that accounts for the negative impact time deficits exert on living standards.

GEM-IWG
The International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics (GEM-IWG) is a global network of economists formed for the purpose of promoting gender equity in the context of the world economy. GEE has partnered with GEM-IWG in organizing a series of seminars and conferences that are designed to promote a more focused international dialogue on the social dimension of globalization, and to explore the relationship between gender inequality and the economic liberalization policies that underpin the globalization process. The series is ongoing:
 
 
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Associated Program

The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty



Program Publications

  • Working Paper No. 797 | April 2014
    Evidence from India on “Processes”

    Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) is a fiscal innovation. Innovation, for the purposes of this paper, is defined as a way of transforming a new concept into tangible processes, resources, and institutional mechanisms in which a benefit meets identified problems. GRB is a fiscal innovation in that it translates gender commitments into fiscal commitments by applying a “gender lens” to the identified processes, resources, and institutional mechanisms, and arrives at a desirable benefit incidence. The theoretical treatment of gender budgeting as a fiscal innovation is not incorporated, as the focus of this paper is broadly on the processes involved. GRB as an innovation has four specific components: knowledge processes and networking, institutional mechanisms, learning processes and building capacities, and public accountability and benefit incidence. The paper analyzes these four components of GRB in the context of India. The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy has been the pioneer of gender budgeting in India, and also played a significant role in institutionalizing gender budgeting within the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, in 2005. The Expert Committee Group on “Classification of Budgetary Transactions” makes recommendations on gender budgeting—Ashok Lahiri Committee recommendations—that will become part of the institutionalization process, integrating the analytical matrices of fiscal data through a gender lens and also the institutional innovations for GRB. Revisiting the 2004 Lahiri recommendations and revamping the process of GRB in India is inevitable, at both ex ante and ex post levels.

  • Working Paper No. 793 | March 2014

    The quality of match of the statistical match used in the LIMTIP estimates for South Korea in 2009 is described. The match combines the 2009 Korean Time Use Survey (KTUS 2009) with the 2009 Korean Welfare Panel Study (KWPS 2009). The alignment of the two datasets is examined, after which various aspects of the match quality are described. The match is of high quality, given the nature of the source datasets. The method used to simulate employment response to availability of jobs in the situation in which child-care subsidies are available is described. Comparisons of the donor and recipient groups for each of three stages of hot-deck statistical matching are presented. The resulting distribution of jobs, earnings, usual hours of paid employment, household production hours, and use of child-care services are compared to the distribution in the donor pools. The results do not appear to be anomalous, which is the best that can be said of the results of such a procedure.

  • Working Paper No. 790 | March 2014
    An Analysis over the Period of Asianization and Deindustrialization

    The purpose of this study is to explore the employment effects of changes in manufacturing output resulting from shifting trade patterns over the period 1995–2006. For 30 countries (21 OECD and 9 non-OECD countries) we estimate the changes in embodied labor content due to trade using factor-content analysis, breaking up the sources of these changes between trade with the North, the South and China. We also decompose changes in employment into its component changes within and across sectors. Our results present a net negative impact of trade on total employment in 30 countries over the period of analysis (despite employment gains in 17 countries). Except for the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, trade with China has a negative impact on total employment in all countries, with a stronger negative effect on women’s employment. Employment losses in the South due to a surge in imports from China are coupled with declining exports to the North, as many countries in the North shift their imports to emerging economies in Asia. Decomposition results indicate that the decline in the share of women’s employment is mainly due to shifts between sectors rather than changes within sectors. Changes in women’s employment are still highly dependent on movements in “traditional” manufacturing sectors, including food, textiles, and wearing apparel.

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    Author(s):
    Burca Kizilirmak Emel Memiş Şirin Saraçoğlu Ebru Voyvoda
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  • One-Pager No. 46 | February 2014
    The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Consumption Poverty (LIMTCP) is a two-dimensional measure that takes into account both the necessary consumption expenditures and the household production time needed to achieve a minimum standard of living—factors often ignored in official poverty measures. In the case of Turkey, application of the LIMTCP reveals an additional 7.6 million people living in poverty, resulting in a poverty rate that is a full 10 percentage points higher than the official rate of 30 percent. 

  • Working Paper No. 785 | January 2014
    Empirical Description of Gender-specific Outcomes and Budgeting

    Incorporating time in public policymaking is an elusive area of research. Despite the fact that gender budgeting is emerging as a significant tool to analyze the socioeconomic impacts of fiscal policies and thus identify their impacts on gender equity, the integration of time-use statistics in this process remains incomplete, or is even entirely absent, in most countries. If gender budgeting is predominantly based on the index-based empirical description of gender-specific outcomes, a reexamination of the construction of the gender (inequality) index is needed. This is necessary if we are to avoid an incomplete description of the gender-specific outcomes in budget policymaking. Further, “hard-to-price” services are hardly analyzed in public policymaking. This issue is all the more revealing, as the available gender-inequality index—based on health, empowerment, and labor market participation – so far has not integrated time-use statistics in its calculations. From a public finance perspective, the gender budgeting process often rests on the assumption that mainstream expenditures, such as public infrastructure, are nonrival in nature, and that applying a gender lens to these expenditures is not feasible. This argument is refuted by time budget statistics. The time budget data reveal that this argument is often flawed, as there is an intrinsic gender dimension to nonrival expenditures.

  • One-Pager No. 45 | January 2014
    Official poverty lines in Korea and other countries ignore the fact that unpaid household production contributes to the fulfillment of material needs and wants that are essential to attaining a minimum standard of living. By taking household work for granted, these official estimates provide an inaccurate accounting of the breadth and depth of poverty—and can lead policymakers astray.

  • Book Series | December 2013
    Edited by Rania Antonopoulos

    With the full effects of the Great Recession still unfolding, this collection of essays analyzes the gendered economic impacts of the crisis. The volume, from an international set of contributors, argues that gender-differentiated economic roles and responsibilities within households and markets can potentially influence the ways in which men and women are affected in times of economic crisis.

    Looking at the economy through a gender lens, the contributors investigate the antecedents and consequences of the ongoing crisis as well as the recovery policies adopted in selected countries. There are case studies devoted to Latin America, transition economies, China, India, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States. Topics examined include unemployment, the job-creation potential of fiscal expansion, the behavioral response of individuals whose households have experienced loss of income, social protection initiatives, food security and the environment, shedding of jobs in export-led sectors, and lessons learned thus far. From these timely contributions, students, scholars, and policymakers are certain to better understand the theoretical and empirical linkages between gender equality and macroeconomic policy in times of crisis.

    Published by: Routledge

  • Working Paper No. 768 | July 2013

    This paper evaluates the gender wage gap among wage workers along the wage distribution in Georgia between 2004 and 2011, based on the recentered influence function (RIF) decomposition approach developed in Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux (2009). We find that the gender wage gap decreases along the wage distribution, from 0.64 log points to 0.54 log points. Endowment differences explain between 22 percent and 61 percent of the observed gender wage gap, with the explained proportion declining as we move to the top of the distribution. The primary contributors are the differences in the work hours, industrial composition, and employment in the state sector. A substantial portion of the gap, however, remains unexplained, and can be attributed to the differences in returns, especially in the industrial premia.

    The gender wage gap consistently declined between 2004 and 2011. However, the gap remains large, with women earning 45 percent less than men in 2011. The reduction in the gender wage gap between 2004 and 2007, and the switch from a glass-ceiling shape for the gender gap distribution to a sticky-floor shape, was driven by the rising returns in the state sector for men at the bottom, and by women at the top of the wage distribution. Between 2009 and 2011, the decline in the gender wage gap can be explained by the decrease in men’s working hours, which was larger than the decrease in women’s working hours. We assess the robustness of our findings using the statistical matching decomposition method developed in Ñopo (2008) in order to address the possibility that the high degree of industrial segregation may bias our results. The Ñopo decomposition results enrich our understanding of the factors that underlie the gender wage gap but do not alter our key findings, and in fact support their robustness.

    This paper is part of the World Bank's gender assessment program in the South Caucasus.

  • Working Paper No. 765 | May 2013
    Following the financial crisis of 2008, transition countries—the economies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union—experienced an increase in female labor force participation rates and a decrease in male labor force participation rates, in part because male-dominated sectors were hit the hardest. These developments have prompted many to argue that women have been spared the full-blown effects of the crisis. In this paper, we critically evaluate this claim by investigating the extent to which the increase in the female labor force participation rate may have reflected a distress labor supply response to the crisis. We use the data on the 28 countries of the transition region assessed in the 2010 Life in Transition Survey. We find the presence of the female added worker effect, driven by married 45- to 54-year-old women with no children in the household. This effect is the strongest among the region’s middle-income countries. Among men, a negative relationship between labor force participation and household-specific income shocks is indicated.

    Unlike the differences in the response to household-specific income shocks, the labor supply response to a weaker macroeconomic environment is negative for both men and women—hinting at the presence of the “discouraged worker” effect, which cuts across gender lines. We conclude that the decrease in men’s labor force participation observed during this crisis is likely a combined result of the initial sectoral contraction and the subsequent impact of the discouraged worker effect. For women, on the other hand, the added worker effect appears to outweigh the discouraged worker effect, contributing to an increase in their labor force participation rate. Our findings highlight the presence of heterogeneity in the way in which household-specific shocks, as opposed to economy-wide conditions, affect both female and male labor force participation rates.