Gender Equality and the Economy
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), as an integral and key component of all economies. Ultimately, the program seeks to contribute knowledge and recommend policies that promote gender equality.
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.
- Levy Institute–GEM-IWG Seminar and Conference on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics, Krakow, Poland, July 2012
- Levy Institute–GEM-IWG Conference on Gender and the Global Economic Crisis, New York City, July 2009
- Levy Institute–GEM-IWG Seminar on Gender and the Global Economic Crisis, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., Summer 2009
Working Paper No. 1027 | August 2023Structural change has long been at the core of economic development debates. However, the gender implications of structural change are still largely unexplored. This paper helps to fill this gap by analyzing the role of structural change in the gender distribution of sectoral employment in sub-Saharan African countries. I employ aggregate and disaggregate measures of gender sectoral segregation in employment on a panel database consisting of 10 sectors and 11 countries during 1960–2010. Fixed effects and instrumental variables’ regression models show a significant, non-linear link between labor productivity and gender segregation. Increasing labor productivity depresses gender segregation at initial phases of structural change. However, further productivity gains beyond a certain threshold of sectoral development increases gender segregation. Country-industry panel data models complement the analysis by considering relative labor productivity as a determinant of sectoral feminization. The estimates suggest that manufacturing, utilities, construction, business, and government services are key to correcting gender biases in employment along the process of structural change.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Izaskun ZuazuRelated Topic(s):
Press Releases | May 2023Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Mark Primoff
Working Paper No. 1016 | February 2023Monetary policy has been historically concerned with controlling inflation, using the interest rate as its main tool. However, such policies are not gender- or race-neutral. This paper explores econometrically the effect of changes in the interest rate for female and black employment creation in Brazil. We conduct a panel data fixed effects analysis for 13 states between 2012 and 2021 to estimate the effects of changes in interest rates on unemployment, separating the data by gender and race. Our results show that the real interest rate has a positive effect on the relative unemployment of black men to white men, no effect on the relative unemployment of black women to white men, and a negative effect on the relative unemployment of white women to white men. These effects are intensified in regions where the black population ratio is lower. This paper contributes to understanding the challenges to closing gender and racial gaps, particularly in developing economies. We conclude that social stratification, if not considered, can lead to misleading policies that perpetuate unequal socioeconomic outcomes.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Patricia Couto Clara BrenckRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 1009 | August 2022
Empirical Evidence from Subnational Governments in IndiaPublic financial management (PFM) has a significant role in linking resources to results by financing human development outcomes. When economic stimulus packages are short run in nature, thematic PFM, such as child budgeting, has a crucial role in reducing crime against children. Using fixed effects models, we explore the determinants of reduced crime against children. The PFM-related variables are found to have greater impact than economic growth per se in tackling crime against children. Capital expenditure in the social sector is found to be inversely related to crimes against children, though mere allocation in social sector budgets is not found to be effective in reducing crime rates. Specific PFM tools, like child budgeting, need to be analyzed for their role in child protection services. In India, child budgeting has been introduced in states where the rates of crime against children are also high. To understand the efficacy of child budgeting in reducing crime rates, the year of inception (year in which the child budgeting was introduced in the state) of children budgeting in a state is incorporated in the panel models. The coefficients reveal that years of inception and crime against children are inversely related, reinforcing the effectiveness of PFM tools such as child budgeting in reducing crimes. The existence of a positive link between social expenditure and the incidence of crime is at first counterintuitive, but a closer examination reveals a nonlinear relationship between crime incidence and social spending, which is revealed from the statistically significant negative squared term.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Jitesh Yadav Lekha S. ChakrabortyRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | June 2022
Time Use, Employment, and PovertyThere is broad consensus in both research and policy circles that one of the key reasons for a lack of progress in reducing gender gaps in employment and wages is the persistent gender imbalance in unpaid work, three-quarters of which is performed by women. Universal access to quality care services enables the reduction of this unpaid care work through its redistribution from the domestic sphere to the public sphere, with empirical studies from different regions and countries demonstrating that access to services (in particular, childcare services) substantially increases female labor force participation and labor market attachment. Furthermore, a series of recent empirical studies show that access to care also creates new demand for female employment: increasing public spending on care is found to generate two-to-three times the number of new jobs per dollar than spending on sectors such as construction.
This research project report focuses on Mexico and builds on previous studies for Turkey, Ghana, and Tanzania by constructing a combined time-use and income-employment dataset for Mexico to evaluate the net effects a proposed childcare expansion could have on earnings and work hours and their concomitant impact on time and income poverty by gender, with results indicating that the employment creation achieved through increased social care spending reduces gender employment gaps while also helping to alleviate the twin deprivations of time and income poverty.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income PovertyAuthor(s):
Press Releases | March 2022
Press Releases | February 2022
Working Paper No. 983 | February 2021
A Comparative Analysis for Sub-Saharan African CountriesIn this working paper, we analyze factors that may explain gender differences in the allocation of time to household production in sub-Saharan Africa. The study uses time use survey data to analyze the determinants of time spent on household production by husbands and wives in nuclear families in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa. We assume that the time spent by each spouse is a function of personal and household characteristics. A bivariate Tobit model is used to estimate the marginal impact of a set of key variables that figure recurrently in the literature on time allocation. We observe a high degree of variability in the results for the set of countries, which does not allow us to draw hard general conclusions. We do find some weak evidence that supports time availability and gender ideology theory as well as for the hypothesis that bargaining power plays a role in explaining the intrahousehold allocation of household production.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 978 | November 2020Daycares closed on March 16, 2020 in Turkey to prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, the two most common nonparental childcare arrangements in Turkey—care of children by grandparents and nannies—became undesirable due to health concerns and in some cases also unfeasible due to the partial lockdown for individuals under the age of 20 and over the age of 64. We estimate the potential impact of new constraints on nonparental childcare arrangements due to the pandemic on parental caregiving time of married parents of preschool-age children by using data from the 2014–15 Turkish Time Use Survey. Comparing how parental caregiving time varies by gender and use of nonparental childcare arrangements, we find that new constraints on nonparental childcare arrangements during the pandemic have potentially increased the gender difference in parental caregiving time by an hour and forty minutes in Turkey.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 966 | August 2020This paper discusses new methods of combined macro-micro analysis of labor demand and supply to investigate the gender impacts of public policy. In particular it examines how studies have used input-output analysis together with more or less sophisticated methods of allocating people to jobs to model the impact of public investment in care on the gender employment gap and other inequality measures. It presents some results of a cross-country comparison of investment in the care and construction industries, suggesting methodological refinements to take account of the labor supply effects of such investment policies in order to enable a more detailed analysis of who gets the jobs generated and under what conditions of employment to achieve a more accurate assessment of a policy’s full impact on employment inequalities. We argue that such a microsimulation of who is likely to get any newly created jobs should be able to take account of the (child)care “tax” paid by those with caring responsibilities on time spent in employment (as well as the formal tax and benefit system).Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Jerome De Henau Susan HimmelweitRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 959 | June 2020
Comparative Evidence for Developed, Semi-Industrialized, and Low-Income Agricultural EconomiesThis paper applies a robust empirical methodology, which considers issues relating to cross-country heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence, to inspect the contributions of gender equality and factor income distribution to an economy’s growth path. A dynamic model of aggregate demand is estimated on a unique panel dataset from 46 countries that are further grouped into developed (DC), semi-industrialized (SIEs), and low-income agricultural economies (LIAEs).
The empirical findings suggest that, overall, growth is driven by investment in the short run and domestic demand in the long run. In the short run, the results suggest that low female wages act as a stimulus to growth in SIEs but may promote contractionary pressures on demand in the long run. For LIAEs and DCs, the effect of improved labor market conditions for women—leaving men’s constant—on demand-led growth conditions are positive in the short run but may harm long-term growth prospects.
In all, the empirical evidence, combined with the stylized facts about institutional and economic inequality, suggests that the impact of gender and income inequality on macroeconomic outcomes will differ depending on the economic structure and level of economic development.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Ruth BadruRelated Topic(s):
Press Releases | May 2020
Policy Note 2020/3 | April 2020Research Scholar Martha Tepepa explains how the US response to the COVID-19 crisis will be hindered by its approach to immigration policy. The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration campaign creates a public health risk in the context of this pandemic, and the recent implementation of the “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” final rule penalizing noncitizen recipients of some social services will further restrict access to treatment and encumber the fight against the coronavirus.Download:Associated Program(s):Gender Equality and the Economy Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 149 | April 2020The costs of the COVID-19 pandemic—in terms of both the health risks and economic burdens—will be borne disproportionately by the most vulnerable segments of US society. In this public policy brief, Luiza Nassif-Pires, Laura de Lima Xavier, Thomas Masterson, Michalis Nikiforos, and Fernando Rios-Avila demonstrate that the COVID-19 crisis is likely to widen already-worrisome levels of income, racial, and gender inequality in the United States. Minority and low-income populations are more likely to develop severe infections that can lead to hospitalization and death due to COVID-19; they are also more likely to experience job losses and declines in their well-being.
The authors argue that our policy response to the COVID-19 crisis must target these unequally shared burdens—and that a failure to mitigate the regressive impact of the crisis will not only be unjust, it will prolong the pandemic and undermine any ensuing economic recovery efforts. As the authors note, we are in danger of falling victim to a vicious cycle: the pandemic and economic lockdown will worsen inequality; and these inequalities exacerbate the spread of the virus, not to mention further weaken the structure of the US economy.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 950 | April 2020The United States government recently passed legislation and stabilization packages to respond to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free virus testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding. However, the response to the global pandemic might be hindered by the lassitude of the state and the administration’s conception of social policy that leaves the most vulnerable unprotected. The administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration campaign poses public health challenges, especially in the prevention of communicable diseases. In addition to the systemic obstacles noncitizens face in their access to healthcare, recent changes to immigration law that penalize recipients of some social services on grounds that they are a public charge will further restrict their access to treatment and hinder the fight against the pandemic.Download:Associated Program(s):Gender Equality and the Economy Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Structure Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 939 | October 2019
The Case of GhanaViolence against women and girls (VAWG) is a widely recognized human rights violation with serious consequences for the health and well-being of women and their families. However, the wider ramifications of VAWG for businesses, communities, economies, and societies are only recently being recognized. Despite this recognition, there are few studies exploring how the economic and social impacts of VAWG affect economic growth, development, and social stability. In this paper, applying the social accounting approach, we outline the ripple effects of VAWG from the individual micro-level impacts to the macroeconomy. Our analysis shows the loss due to VAWG amounts to about 0.94 percent of Ghanaian GDP and is a permanent invisible leakage from the circular flow of the economy. The analysis also shows that the loss due to violence is not just a one-off leakage from the macroeconomic circular flow and explores the potential consequences of the multiplier loss due to VAWG over a period of time. The cumulative loss is sizeable and inflicts a premium on GDP growth over time—in simple terms, inaction today in addressing VAWG for cost considerations will impose a larger cost premium on economic growth, which will constrain tomorrow’s resources.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Srinivas Raghavendra Kijong Kim Sinead Ashe Mrinal Chadha Felix Asante Petri T. Piiroinen Nata DuvvuryRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | April 2019
An Assessment of Care Deficits, Costs, and Impact on Employment, Gender Equality, and Fiscal ReturnsExpansion of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services for all is a matter of the choices made regarding the allocation of public resources. As such, it is as much an issue of children’s well-being and gender equality as it is an issue of economic policy and fiscal allocation. This study—authored by Institute scholars Ipek Ilkkaracan and Kijong Kim as a joint production of the Macroeconomic Team of the Economic Empowerment Section at UN Women and UN Women’s Country Team in Kyrgyz Republic—contributes to the policy debate on ECEC expansion in Kyrgyz Republic, particularly from a fiscal policy perspective that focuses on potential short-run economic returns.
Following in the footsteps of recent country policy studies, this research report estimates the required increase in public expenditures on ECEC centers according to different policy scenarios specific to Kyrgyz Republic. The report estimates short-run, demand-side economic returns regarding employment creation, the gender employment gap, and the fiscal sustainability of the initial outlay of expenditures through increased tax revenues. The simulation for ECEC service expansion is compared to the counterfactual scenario where fiscal expenditure of identical magnitude is allocated toward physical infrastructure and construction projects, a common target sector for public spending.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 921 | January 2019This paper is a comparison between two programs implemented to combat poverty in Latin America: Prospera (Prosper) in Mexico and Asignación Universal por Hijo (Universal Assignment for Child) in Argentina.
The first section offers a review of the emergence of the welfare state, examining economic and urban development in both countries and the underlying trends of social policy instruments.
The analysis is based on the political nature of social problems and the actions undertaken to confront them. The paper offers a theoretical perspective, often questioning the very foundation of the social policy that serves as the main framework for the social programs, in order to present the policies’ scope, successes, and disadvantages with reference to social equity and the well-being of their participants.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 920 | January 2019
Efficacy of Gender Budgeting in Asia PacificGender budgeting is a fiscal approach that seeks to use a country’s national and/or local budget(s) to reduce inequality and promote economic growth and equitable development. While the literature has explored the connection between reducing gender inequality and achieving growth and equitable development, more empirical analysis is needed on whether gender budgeting reduces gender inequality. Our study follows the methodology of Stotsky and Zaman (2016) to investigate the impact of gender budgeting on promoting gender equality across Asia Pacific countries. The study classifies Asia Pacific countries as gender budgeting or non-gender budgeting according to whether they have formalized gender budgeting initiatives in laws and/or budget call circulars. To measure the effect of gender budgeting on reducing inequality, we measure the correlation between gender budgeting and the Gender Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Inequality Index (GII) scores in each country. The data for our gender inequality variables are mainly drawn from the IMF database on gender indicators and the World Development Indicators database over the 1990–2013 period. Our results show that gender budgeting has a significant effect on increasing the GDI and a small but significant potential to reduce the GII, strengthening the rationale for employing gender budgeting to promote inclusive development. However, our empirical results show no prioritization of gender budgeting in the fiscal space of health and education sectors in the region.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Lekha S. Chakraborty Marian Ingrams Yadawendra SinghRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 899 | January 2018The goal of this paper is to examine the patterns and movements of the gender pay gaps in the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and to place them in the context of advanced economies. We survey over 30 publications and conduct a meta-analysis of this literature. Gender pay gaps in the region are considerable and above the levels observed in advanced economies. Similar to advanced economies, industrial and occupational segregation widens the gaps in the FSU countries, whereas gender differences in educational attainment tend to shrink them. However, a much higher proportion of the gaps remain unexplained, pointing toward the role of unobserved gender differences related to actual and perceived productivity. Over the last 25 years, the gaps contracted in most FSU countries, primarily due to the reduction in the unexplained portion. Underlying the contraction at the mean are different movements in the gap across the pay distribution. Although the glass-ceiling effect has diminished in some FSU countries, it has persisted in others. We investigate the reasons underlying these findings and argue that the developments in the FSU region shed new light on our understanding of the gender pay gaps.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):Region(s):Russia and Eastern Europe
Policy Note 2017/4 | November 2017The predominant framework for measuring poverty rests on an implicit assumption that everyone has enough time available to devote to household production or enough resources to compensate for deficits in household production by purchasing market substitutes. Senior Scholar Ajit Zacharias argues that this implicit bias in our official poverty statistics threatens to undermine the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs include the following targets: (1) reduce the incidence of poverty by 50 percent by 2030, and (2) recognize and provide support to the unpaid provision of domestic services and care of persons undertaken predominantly by women in their households. This policy note suggests that a closer link exists between poverty reduction and support for household production activities than is commonly acknowledged. Failure to recognize the link in policy design can contribute to failure on both fronts. To obtain a more accurate assessment of poverty, time deficits in household production must be taken into account.
Download:Associated Program(s):The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty Gender Equality and the Economy The Distribution of Income and WealthAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 888 | April 2017
Using data from the 2003–14 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this paper examines the relationship between the state unemployment rate and the time that opposite-sex couples with children spend on childcare activities, and how this varies by the socioeconomic status (SES), race, and ethnicity of the mothers and fathers. The time that mothers and fathers spend providing primary and secondary child caregiving, solo time with children, and any time spent as a family are considered. To explore the impact of macroeconomic conditions on the amount of time parents spend with children, the time-use data are combined with the state unemployment rate data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The analysis finds that the time parents spend on child-caregiving activities or with their children varies with the unemployment rate in low-SES households, African-American households, and Hispanic households. Given that job losses were disproportionately high for workers with no college degree, African-Americans, and Hispanics during the Great Recession, the results suggest that the burden of household adjustment during the crisis fell disproportionately on the households most affected by the recession.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Ebru Kongar Mark PriceRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 884 | February 2017
Evidence from Turkey
Using data from the 2006 Turkish Time-Use Survey, we examine gender differences in time allocation among married heterosexual couples over the life cycle. While we find large discrepancies in the gender division of both paid and unpaid work at each life stage, the gender gap in paid and unpaid work is largest among parents of infants compared to parents of older children and couples without children. The gender gap narrows as children grow up and parents age. Married women’s housework time remains relatively unchanged across their life cycle, while older men spend more time doing housework than their younger counterparts. Over the course of the life cycle, women’s total work burden increases relative to men’s. Placing our findings within the gendered institutional context in Turkey, we argue that gender-inequitable work-family reconciliation policies that are based on gendered assumptions of women’s role as caregivers exacerbate gender disparities in time use.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 882 | January 2017
A Distributional Analysis of the Care Economy in Turkey
This paper examines the aggregate and gender employment impact of expanding the early childhood care and preschool education (ECCPE) sector in Turkey and compares it to the expansion of the construction sector. The authors’ methodology combines input-output analysis with a statistical microsimulation approach. Their findings suggest that the expansion of the ECCPE sector creates more jobs and does so in a more gender-equitable way than an expansion of the construction sector. In particular, it narrows the gender employment and earnings gaps, generates more decent jobs, and achieves greater short-run fiscal sustainability.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 880 | January 2017
Evidence from Measures of Economic Well-Being
The Great Recession had a tremendous impact on low-income Americans, in particular black and Latino Americans. The losses in terms of employment and earnings are matched only by the losses in terms of real wealth. In many ways, however, these losses are merely a continuation of trends that have been unfolding for more than two decades. We examine the changes in overall economic well-being and inequality as well as changes in racial economic inequality over the Great Recession, using the period from 1989 to 2007 for historical context. We find that while racial inequality increased from 1989 to 2010, during the Great Recession racial inequality in terms of the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being (LIMEW) decreased. We find that changes in base income, taxes, and income from nonhome wealth during the Great Recession produced declines in overall inequality, while only taxes reduced between-group racial inequality.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The State of the US and World EconomiesAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):Distribution of income Distribution of wealth Great Recession Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-being (LIMEW) Race United StatesRegion(s):United States
Working Paper No. 865 | May 2016
Why Time Deficits Matter
We describe the production of estimates of the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP) for Buenos Aires, Argentina, and use it to analyze the incidence of time and income poverty. We find high numbers of hidden poor—those who are not poor according to the official measure but are found to be poor when using our time-adjusted poverty line. Large time deficits for those living just above the official poverty line are the reason for this hidden poverty. Time deficits are unevenly distributed by employment status, family type, and especially gender. Simulations of the impact of full-time employment on those households with nonworking (for pay) adults indicate that reductions in income poverty can be achieved, but at the cost of increased time poverty. Policy interventions that address the lack of both income and time are discussed.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty Hewlett Foundation–Levy Institute ProjectAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 859 | February 2016
A Technical Articulation for Asia-Pacific
Against the backdrop of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, this paper analyzes the measurement issues in gender-based indices constructed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and suggests alternatives for choice of variables, functional form, and weights. While the UNDP Gender Inequality Index (GII) conceptually reflects the loss in achievement due to inequality between men and women in three dimensions—health, empowerment, and labor force participation—we argue that the assumptions and the choice of variables to capture these dimensions remain inadequate and erroneous, resulting in only the partial capture of gender inequalities. Since the dimensions used for the GII are different from those in the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI), we cannot say that a higher value in the GII represents a loss in the HDI due to gender inequalities. The technical obscurity remains how to interpret GII by combining women-specific indicators with indicators that are disaggregated for both men and women. The GII is a partial construct, as it does not capture many significant dimensions of gender inequality. Though this requires a data revolution, we tried to reconstruct the GII in the context of Asia-Pacific using three scenarios: (1) improving the set of variables incorporating unpaid care work, pay gaps, intrahousehold decision making, exposure to knowledge networks, and feminization of governance at local levels; (2) constructing a decomposed index to specify the direction of gender gaps; and (3) compiling an alternative index using Principal Components Index for assigning weights. The choice of countries under the three scenarios is constrained by data paucity. The results reveal that the UNDP GII overestimates the gap between the two genders, and that using women-specific indicators leads to a fallacious estimation of gender inequality. The estimates are illustrative. The implication of the results broadly suggests a return to the UNDP Gender Development Index for capturing gender development, with an improvised set of choices and variables.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Bhavya Aggarwal Lekha S. ChakrabortyRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 858 | January 2016
The collapse of the Soviet Union initiated an unprecedented social and economic transformation of the successor countries and altered the gender balance in a region that counted gender equality as one of the key legacies of its socialist past. The transition experience of the region has amply demonstrated that the changes in the gender balance triggered by economic shifts are far from obvious, and that economic expansion and women’s economic empowerment do not always go hand in hand. Therefore, active measures to enhance women’s economic empowerment should be of central concern to the policy dialogue aimed at poverty and inequality reduction and inclusive growth. In this paper, we establish the current state of various dimensions of gender inequalities and their past dynamics in the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), and Western CIS (Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine), and propose steps aimed at reducing those inequalities in the context of inclusive growth, decent job creation, and economic empowerment.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
In the Media | November 2015
By Tamar KhitarishviliVoices from Eurasia, November 24, 2015. All Rights Reserved.
I was recently in Tbilisi to participate in a conference that took stock of what we know about the challenges of job creation in the South Caucasus and Western CIS. While researching gender inequalities in labour markets of these countries, I searched for evidence on how the challenge of job creation can be overcome without perpetuating gender inequalities in the region, and preferably, by reducing them....
Read more: http://europeandcis.undp.org/blog/2015/11/24/want-more-and-better-jobs-put-women-in-charge/
One-Pager No. 50 | October 2015
Expanding Child Care and Preschool Services
This one-pager presents the key findings and policy recommendations of the research project report The Impact of Public Investment in Social Care Services on Employment, Gender Equality, and Poverty: The Turkish Case, which examines the demand-side rationale for a public investment in the social care sector in Turkey—specifically, early childhood care and preschool education (ECCPE)—by comparing its potential for job creation, pro-women allocation of jobs, and poverty reduction with an equivalent investment in the construction sector.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | September 2015
The Turkish Case
Produced in partnership with the International Labour Organization, United Nations Development Programme, and UN Women, this report examines the demand-side rationale for a public investment in the social care sector—specifically, early childhood care and preschool education (ECCPE)—by comparing its potential for job creation, pro-women allocation of jobs, and poverty reduction with an equivalent investment in the construction sector.
The authors find that a public investment of 20.7 billion TRY yields an estimated 290,000 new jobs in the construction sector and related sectors. However, an equal investment in ECCPE creates 719,000 new jobs in ECCPE and related sectors, or 2.5 times as many jobs. Furthermore, nearly three-quarters of the ECCPE jobs go to women, whereas a mere 6 percent of new jobs go to women following an expansion of the construction sector.
ECCPE expansion is also shown to be superior in terms of the number of decent jobs (i.e., jobs with social security benefits) created: some 85 percent of new ECCPE jobs come with social security benefits, compared to the slightly more than 30 percent of construction jobs that come with equivalent benefits. Both expansions are found to benefit the poor, with an ECCPE expansion targeting prime-working-age poor mothers of small children showing the potential to reduce the relative poverty rate by 1.14 percentage points. In terms of fiscal sustainability, an ECCPE expansion is estimated to recoup 77 percent of public expenditures through increased government revenues, while construction recovers roughly 52 percent.
The report concludes that in addition to supply-side effects, there is a robust demand-side rationale for expanded funding of ECCPE, with clear benefits in terms of decent employment creation, gender equality, poverty alleviation, and fiscal sustainability. These findings have important implications for expanded public investment in the broader social care sector as a strategy that embraces gender budgeting while promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 838 | May 2015
Linkages and Their Implications
Unpaid work, which falls outside of the national income accounts but within the general production boundary, is viewed as either “care” or as “work” by experts. This work is almost always unequally distributed between men and women, and if one includes both paid and unpaid work, women carry much more of the burden of work than men. This unequal distribution of work is unjust, and it implies a violation of the basic human rights of women. The grounds on which it is excluded from the boundary of national income accounts do not seem to be logical or valid. This paper argues that the exclusion reflects the dominance of patriarchal values and brings male bias into macroeconomics.
This paper shows that there are multiple linkages between unpaid work and the conventional macroeconomy, and this makes it necessary to expand the boundary of conventional macroeconomics so as to incorporate unpaid work. The paper presents the two approaches: the valuation of unpaid work into satellite accounts, and the adoption of the triple “R” approach of recognition, reduction, and reorganization of unpaid work, recommended by experts. However, there is a need to go beyond these approaches to integrate unpaid work into macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies. Though some empirical work has been done in terms of integrating unpaid work into macro policies (for example, understanding the impacts of macroeconomic policy on paid and unpaid work), some sound theoretical work is needed on the dynamics of the linkages between paid and unpaid work, and how these dynamics change over time and space. The paper concludes that the time has come to recognize that unless unpaid work is included in macroeconomic analyses, they will remain partial and wrong. The time has also come to incorporate unpaid work into labor market analyses, and in the design of realistic labor and employment policies.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | May 2015This addendum to our June 2014 report, “Responding to the Unemployment Challenge: A Job Guarantee Proposal for Greece,” updates labor market data through 2014Q3 and identifies emerging employment and unemployment trends. The overarching aim of the report, the outcome of a study undertaken in 2013 by the Levy Institute in collaboration with the Observatory of Economic and Social Developments of the Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour, is to provide policymakers and the general public research-based evidence of the macroeconomic and employment effects of a large-scale direct job creation program in Greece, and to invite critical rethinking of the austerity-driven macro policy instituted in 2010 as a condition of the loans made to Greece by its eurozone partners.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 138 | October 2014To mobilize Greece’s severely underemployed labor potential and confront the social and economic dangers of persistent unemployment, we propose the immediate implementation of a direct public benefit job creation program—a Greek “New Deal.” The Job Guarantee (JG) program would offer the unemployed jobs, at a minimum wage, on work projects providing public goods and services. This policy would have substantial positive economic impacts in terms of output and employment, and when newly accrued tax revenue is taken into account, which substantially reduces the net cost of the program, it makes for a comparatively modest fiscal stimulus. At a net cost of roughly 1 percent to 1.2 percent of GDP (depending on the wage level offered), a midrange JG program featuring the direct creation of 300,000 jobs has the potential to reduce the unemployed population by a third or more, once indirect employment effects are taken into account. And our research indicates that the policy would do all this while reducing Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio—which leaves little room for excuses.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | August 2014
The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income PovertyThis report presents findings from a joint project of the Levy Economics Institute and the Korea Employment Information Service, with the central objective of developing a measure of time and income poverty for Korea that takes into account household production (unpaid work) requirements. Standard measurements of poverty assume that all households have enough time to adequately attend to the needs of household members—including, for example, caring for children. But this assumption is false. For numerous reasons, some households may not have sufficient time, and they thus experience “time deficits.” If a household officially classified as nonpoor has such a time deficit and cannot afford to cover it by buying market substitutes (e.g., hiring a care provider), that household will encounter hardships not reflected in the official poverty measure.To get a more accurate calculus of poverty, we developed the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP), a two-dimensional measure that takes into account both the necessary income and the household production time needed to achieve a minimum living standard. In the case of Korea, our estimates for 2008 (the last year for which data are available) show that the LIMTIP poverty rate of employed households was almost three times higher than the official poverty rate (7.5 percent versus 2.6 percent). The gap between the official and LIMTIP poverty rates was notably higher for “nonemployed male head with employed spouse,” “single female-headed” and “dual-earner” households. Our estimates of the size of the hidden poor—roughly two million individuals—suggest that ignoring time deficits in household production resulted in a serious undercount of the working poor, which has profound consequences for the formulation of policy. In addition, the stark gender disparity in the incidence of time poverty among the employed, even after controlling for hours of employment, suggests that the source of the gender difference in time poverty lies in the greater share of the household production activities that women undertake. Overall, current policies to promote gender equality and economic well-being in Korea need to be reconsidered, based on a deeper understanding of the linkages between the functioning of labor markets, unpaid household production activities, and existing arrangements of social provisioning—including social care provisioning.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income PovertyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 136 | August 2014
Assessing the Korean Experience Using the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income PovertyIn partnership with the Korea Employment Information Service, Senior Scholar Ajit Zacharias and Research Scholars Thomas Masterson and Kijong Kim investigate the complex issues of gender, changing labor market conditions, and the public provisioning of child care in Korea using the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP), an alternative measure that factors in both time and income deficits in the assessment of poverty.Since the 1997 Asian financial crisis, lifetime employment and single-breadwinner households have given way to increased job insecurity, flexible work arrangements, and rapid growth in dual-earner households in Korea. Add to these factors rising labor force participation by women but little change in the highly unequal division of household production, and many women effectively face a double shift each day: paid employment followed by a second shift of household production.Recognizing the implications of the heavy burden of care work for women’s well-being and employment, Korea introduced public child-care provisioning, via a voucher system for low-income families, in 1992 (the program became universal in 2013). This study analyzes the impact of the voucher program on reducing time and income poverty, and reassesses the overall level of poverty in Korea. While it reveals a much higher level of poverty than official estimates indicate—7.9 percent versus 2.6 percent—due to time deficits, the outsourcing of child-care services reduced the LIMTIP rate from 7.9 percent to 7.5 percent and the number of “hidden poor” individuals from two million to 1.8 million. While these results show that the problem of time poverty in Korea extends beyond child-care needs, the impact of public provisioning through the voucher program clearly has had a positive impact on families with children.The main findings and policy recommendations resulting from this study are presented in detail in the research project report The Measurement of Time and Income Poverty in Korea: The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income PovertyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 812 | August 2014
What Difference Did the Great Recession Make?
Feminist and institutionalist literature has challenged the “Mancession” narrative of the 2007–09 recession and produced nuanced and gender-aware analyses of the labor market and well-being outcomes of the recession. Using American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data for 2003–12, this paper examines the recession’s impact on gendered patterns of time use over the course of the 2003–12 business cycle. We find that the gender disparity in paid and unpaid work hours followed a U-shaped pattern, narrowing during the recession and widening slightly during the jobless recovery. The change in unpaid work disparity was smaller than that in paid work, and was short-lived. Consequently, mothers’ total workload increased under the hardships of the Great Recession and declined only slightly during the recovery.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Ebru Kongar Günseli BerikRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | June 2014
This report presents the findings from a study undertaken by the Levy Institute in 2013 in collaboration with the Observatory of Economic and Social Developments of the Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Labour. It uses as background the 2011 Levy Institute study “Direct Job Creation for Turbulent Times in Greece,” which focused on the need for direct job creation to address rising unemployment. The focus in this report, however, is different. Here, the aim is to make available to policymakers and the broader public research-based evidence of the macroeconomic and employment effects of a large-scale program of direct job creation program—a cost-effective and proven policy response. The ultimate goal of this undertaking is to draw urgently needed attention to the worsening levels of unemployment in Greece, and to invite critical rethinking of the austerity-driven macro policy instituted in 2010.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 806 | May 2014
Does Poverty Matter?
Poverty status is an important factor influencing household production and the unpaid work time associated with it due to the role of household production as a coping strategy in mitigating the impact of economic downturns. In this paper, we examine the presence of poverty-based asymmetries in the unpaid work time changes of men and women during the Great Recession. Using the 2003–12 American Time Use Survey, we find that these changes indeed varied by poverty status. In particular, nonpoor women drove the reduction in unpaid work time among women. Among men, the lack of the change in unpaid work time masked the increase in poor men’s time and the decrease in nonpoor men’s time. Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions of the changes in the unpaid work time reveal that shifts in own and spousal employment status largely account for the gender-based differences in these changes, while shifts in the household structure partially explain the poverty-based differences. Nevertheless, sizable portions of the changes in time use remain unexplained by the shifting individual and household characteristics. The latter finding supports the hypothesis of poverty-based variation in the unpaid work time adjustments in that poor and nonpoor individuals appeared to have responded to the recession in different ways.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
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.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
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.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty Hewlett Foundation–Levy Institute ProjectAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
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.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Burca Kizilirmak Emel Memiş Şirin Saraçoğlu Ebru VoyvodaRelated Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 46 | February 2014The 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.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Press Releases | February 2014Download:Associated Program(s):The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the EconomyAuthor(s):Mark Primoff
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.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 45 | January 2014Official 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.Download:Associated Program(s):The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the EconomyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
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.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 765 | May 2013Following 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.
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Press Releases | May 2013
Public Policy Brief No. 128 | April 2013
Is There Space to Promote Gender Equality in the Evolution of Social Protection?Social protection systems comprise public policies designed to prevent or alleviate economic insecurity and poverty. Throughout the developing world, social protection strategies and the dialogue surrounding them have recently been undergoing an important evolution. In this policy brief, Senior Scholar and Director of the Gender Equality and the Economy program Rania Antonopoulos highlights the opportunities and challenges for promoting gender equality and empowerment within this shifting policy landscape. Developed with financial support from the United Nations Development Programme, this brief is intended as an advocacy tool in the service of amplifying gender-informed policy considerations in country-level social protection debates.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 757 | March 2013
A Gender Perspective
This paper discusses social protection initiatives in the context of developing countries and explores the opportunities they present for promoting a gender-equality agenda and women’s empowerment. The paper begins with a brief introduction on the emergence of social protection (SP) and how it is linked to economic and social policy. Next, it reviews the context, concepts, and definitions relevant to SP policies and identifies gender-specific social and economic risks and corresponding SP instruments, drawing on country-level experiences. The thrust of the paper is to explore how SP instruments can help or hinder the process of altering rigid gendered roles, and offers a critical evaluation of SP interventions from the standpoint of women’s inclusion in economic life. Conditional cash transfers and employment guarantee programs are discussed in detail. An extensive annotated bibliography accompanies this paper as a resource for researchers and practitioners.
An extensive annotated bibliography accompanies this paper as a resource for researchers and practitioners.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 756 | February 2013
Does the Gender of the Migrant Matter?
Utilizing a nationally representative sample of households from Sri Lanka, this study examines gender differences in the long-term impact of temporary labor migration. We use a propensity score matching (PSM) framework to compare households with return migrants, households with current migrants, and equivalent nonmigrant households in terms of a variety of outcomes. Our results show that households that send women abroad are relatively poor and utilize migration to catch up with the average household, whereas sending a man abroad allows an already advantaged household to further strengthen their economic position. We also find that remittances from females emphasize investment in home improvements and acquisition of farm land and nonfarm assets, whereas remittances of men are channeled more toward housing assets and business ventures.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 126 | November 2012
Why Time Deficits Matter for Poverty
We cannot adequately assess how much or how little progress we have made in addressing the condition of the most vulnerable in our societies, or provide accurate guidance to policymakers intent on improving each individual’s and household’s ability to reach a basic standard of living, if we do not have a reliable means of measuring who is being left behind. With the support of the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organization, Senior Scholars Rania Antonopoulos and Ajit Zacharias and Research Scholar Thomas Masterson have constructed an alternative measure of poverty that, when applied to the cases of Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, reveals significant blind spots in the official numbers.Download:Associated Program(s):The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the EconomyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
One-Pager No. 34 | October 2012
The Importance of Time Deficits
Standard poverty measurements assume that all households and individuals have enough time to engage in the unpaid cooking, cleaning, and caregiving that are essential to attaining a bare-bones standard of living. But this assumption is false. With the support of the United Nations Development Programme and the International Labour Organization, Senior Scholars Rania Antonopoulos and Ajit Zacharias and Research Scholar Thomas Masterson have constructed an alternative measure of poverty that, when applied to the cases of Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, reveals significant blind spots in the official numbers.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | August 2012
Implications for the Measurement of Poverty
Customarily, income poverty incidence is judged by the ability of individuals and households to gain access to some level of minimum income based on the premise that such access ensures the fulfillment of basic material needs. However, this approach neglects to take into account the necessary (unpaid) household production requirements without which basic needs cannot be fulfilled. In fact, the two are interdependent and evaluation of standards of living ought to consider both dimensions.
This report provides an analytical and empirical framework that includes unpaid household production work in the very conceptualization and calculations of poverty: the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP). Based on this new analytical framework, empirical estimates of poverty are presented and compared with those calculated according to the official income poverty lines for Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. In addition, an employment-generating poverty-reduction policy is simulated in each country, and the results are assessed using the official and LIMTIP poverty lines.
The undertaking of this work was initiated as a result of joint discussions and collaboration between the Levy Economics Institute and United Nations Development Programme Regional Service Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly the Gender Practice, Poverty, and Millennium Development Goals areas. It addresses an identified need to expand the knowledge base, conceptually, analytically, and empirically, on the links between (official) income poverty and the time allocation of households between paid and unpaid work.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 727 | July 2012
The method for simulation of labor market participation used in the LIMTIP models for Argentina, Chile, and Mexico is described. In each case, all eligible adults not working full-time were assigned full-time jobs. In all households that included job recipients, the time spent on household production was imputed for everyone included in the time-use survey. The feasibility of assessing the quality of the simulations is discussed. For each simulation, the recipient group is compared to the donor group, both in terms of demographic similarity and in terms of the imputed usual hours, earnings, and household production produced in the simulation. In each case, the simulations are of reasonable quality, given the nature of the challenges in assessing their quality.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 726 | June 2012
The US Recession of 2007–09
The recession precipitated by the US financial crisis of 2007 accelerated the convergence of women’s and men’s employment rates, as men experienced disproportionate job losses and women’s entry into the labor force gathered pace. Using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data for 2003–10, this study examines whether the recession also occasioned a decline in disparity in unpaid work burdens and provided impetus for overall progress toward equity in the workloads, leisure time, and personal care hours of mothers and fathers. Controlling for the prerecession trends, we find that the recession contributed to the convergence of both paid and unpaid work only during the December 2007–June 2009 period. The combined effect of the recession and the jobless recovery was a move toward equity in the paid work hours of mothers and fathers, a relative increase in the total workload of mothers, and a relative decline in their personal care and leisure time.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Günseli Berik Ebru KongarRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | November 2011
Countries in crisis round the world face the daunting task of dealing with abrupt increases in unemployment and associated deepening poverty. Greece, in the face of her sovereign debt crisis, has been hit the hardest. Remediating employment policies, including workweek reductions and employment subsidies, abound but have failed to answer the call satisfactorily. Direct public-service job creation, instead, enables communities to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities that rise especially in turbulent times by actively transforming their own economic and social environment.
With underwriting from the Labour Institute of the Greek General Confederation of Workers, the Levy Economics Institute was instrumental in the design and implementation of a social works program of direct job creation throughout Greece. Two-year projects, funded from European Structural Funds, have begun.
This report traces the economic trends preceding and surrounding the economic crisis in Greece, with particular emphasis on recent labor market trends and emerging gaps in social safety net coverage. While its primary focus is identifying the needs in Greece, broader lessons for direct job creation are highlighted, and could be applied to countries entertaining targeted employment creation as a means to alleviate social strains during crisis periods.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 696 | November 2011
The US Business Cycle of 2003–10
The US economic crisis and recession of 2007–09 accelerated the convergence of women’s and men’s employment rates as men experienced disproportionate job losses and women’s entry into the labor force gathered pace. Using the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) data for 2003–10, this study examines whether the narrowing gap in paid work over this period was mirrored in unpaid work, personal care, and leisure time. We find that the gender gap in unpaid work followed a U-pattern, narrowing during the recession but widening afterward. Through segregation analysis, we trace this U-pattern to the slow erosion of gender segregation in housework and, through a standard decomposition analysis of time use by employment status, show that this pattern was mainly driven by movement toward gender-equitable unpaid hours of women and men with the same employment status. In addition, gender inequality in leisure time increased over the business cycle.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Günseli Berik Ebru KongarRelated Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 692 | October 2011
The quality of match of three statistical matches used in the LIMTIP estimates for Argentina, Chile, and Mexico is described. The first match combines the 2005 Uso del Tiempo (UT 2005) with the 2006 Encuesto Annual de Hogares (EAH) for Argentina. The second match combines the 2007 Encuesta Experimental sobre Uso del Tiempo en el Gran Santiago (EUT 2007) with the 2006 Encuesta Caracteristización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN 2006) for Chile. The third match combines the 2008 Encuesta Nacional de Ingresos y Gastos de los Hogares (ENIGH 2008) with the 2009 Encuesta Nacional sobre Uso del Tiempo (ENUT 2009) for Mexico. In each case, the alignment of the two datasets is examined, after which various aspects of the match quality are described. In each case, the matches are of high quality, given the nature of the source datasets.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 691 | October 2011
The Effects of Child Care and Elder Care on the Standard of Living
Transforming care for children and the elderly from a private to a public domain engenders a series of benefits to the economy that improve our standard of living. We assess the positive impacts of social care from both receivers’ and providers’ points of view. The benefits to care receivers are various, ranging from private, higher returns to education to enhancing subjective well-being and health outcomes. The economy-wide spillovers of the benefits are noteworthy. Early childhood education reduces costs of law enforcement and generates higher long-term economic growth. Home-based health care lowers absenteeism and job losses that otherwise undermine labor productivity, providing adequate care at a lower cost and delaying admission into high-cost institutional care. Social care improves mothers’ labor-market attachment with higher lifetime income; it also lowers physical and psychological burdens of elder care that are becoming more prevalent with an aging population. Social care investment creates more job opportunities than other public spending, especially for workers from poor households and with low levels of educational attainment. The broad contributions of social care to our standard of living should be recognized in the public discourse, particularly in this era of fiscal austerity.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 690 | October 2011
Official poverty thresholds are based on the implicit assumption that the household with poverty-level income possesses sufficient time for household production to enable it to reproduce itself as a unit. Several authors have questioned the validity of the assumption and explored alternative methods to account for time deficits in the measurement of poverty. I critically review the alternative approaches within a unified framework to highlight the commonalities and relative merits of individual approaches. I also propose a two-dimensional, time-income poverty measure that accounts for intrahousehold disparities in the division of household labor and briefly discuss its uses in thinking about antipoverty policies.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 686 | September 2011
This paper provides estimates of the impact of the recent economic crisis on paid and unpaid work time in Turkey. The data used in this study come from the first and only time-use survey available at the national level. Infrequency of collection of time-use data in Turkey does not allow us to make a direct comparison of pre- versus postcrisis time-use patterns. We introduce a tractable way for estimating these possible effects by measuring the impact of an increase in unemployment risk on time-use patterns of women and men living in couple households. The method developed here can be applied to other developing-country cases where there is a lack of longitudinal data availability. Our findings support the argument that economic crises reinforce the preexisting gender inequalities in work time.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Emel Memiş S. A. Kaya BahçeRelated Topic(s):
In the Media | September 2011
By Peter S. Goodman
The Huffington Post, September 1, 2011. Copyright © 2011 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. | “The Huffington Post” is a registered trademark of TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc. All rights reserved.
As President Obama puts the finish on a much-touted program aimed at promoting job creation, public expectations appear low, owing to national dismay over a deep unemployment crisis and the partisan division ruling Washington.
But put aside the limitations of political possibility—granted, a bit like ignoring gravity—and many economists assert there is much the government could do to put large numbers of Americans back to work.
At the top of many to-do lists is government spending into the tens of billions of dollars to finance large-scale public works projects, a strategy that could address a gaping mismatch: Nearly 14 million Americans are officially out of work, yet a great deal of work needs to be done, from repairing dilapidated roads and bridges, to retrofitting government office buildings with energy-efficient infrastructure.
“If the government spends the money directly on government-funded projects, that puts people on payrolls,” said Gary Burtless, a former Labor Department economist and now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He added that the bulk of hiring and spending is likely to be confined to the domestic economy. “You can’t get Brazilian workers to pave a road here in the United States, and lots of capital goods that go into infrastructure would also be produced in the United States,” he said.
Critics of infrastructure spending as a proposed fix for unemployment have argued that it can be inefficient: A surge of money let loose through federal and state bureaucracies invites waste and abuse. To which proponents ask, compared to what?
“The other waste that we should keep front and center in our minds is having nine percent of the workforce unemployed,” Burtless said. “If some of the money is wasted because it is spent too quickly, you’ve got to put that in context of the complete waste of the talents and abilities of the 11 million Americans who would be working if we were at full employment today.”
Infrastructure spending is particularly promising, say proponents, because it is likely to generate jobs in the very areas of the economy that have been hardest hit as the housing boom has gone bust—construction and manufacturing.
“We still have mass layoffs in those sectors,” said Pavlina R. Tcherneva, an economist at Franklin & Marshall College. “It seems very obvious that we can absorb large numbers of workers in those sectors for the public good.”
One proposal that has gained favor among some economists in recent months—among them, Jared Bernstein, previously chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden and now a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities—would direct $50 billion toward repairing aging schools, with a particular focus on making buildings more energy efficient. Proponents say this spending would be financed over a decade by closing $46 billion worth of tax loopholes that now favor the traditional oil and gas industry.
According to an outline of the Fix America’s Schools Today proposal, the nation’s roughly 100,000 public schools confront a backlog of deferred maintenance projects that reaches $270 billion, meaning this money could quickly be absorbed and put to use.
“This is labor-intensive work,” Bernstein told the Huffington Post. “And that’s a good thing. That means more jobs.”
Bernstein helped craft the nearly $800 billion in stimulus spending measures delivered by the Obama administration in early 2009—a package that has since become a symbol of disappointment across the ideological spectrum. Those favoring more aggressive government intervention, led by the economists and Nobel laureates Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, derided it as too small and poorly targeted to reinvigorate economic growth. Conservatives such as John Taylor, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers in the George H.W. Bush administration, and now a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, pronounced it a wholesale waste of money that did not create jobs.
But Bernstein and many other economists maintain that the package prevented the unemployment rate from climbing even higher, and he would favor unleashing a new dose of one of its key components: aid for distressed state and local governments, whose budget troubles have prompted deep and sustained layoffs. This is now the dominant force exacerbating joblessness.
“It’s as simple as two plus two,” Bernstein said. “You have states that have to balance their budgets and they are still cutting deeply and they either raise taxes or reduce service, and they have been doing more of the latter, leading to layoffs. State and local fiscal relief would be a great way to get much needed, fast-acting medicine into the system.”
But as Bernstein acknowledges, such proposals are not on the agenda among the decision-makers in Washington, who have instead been consumed with debate over how to reduce the federal budget deficit.
“I don’t see it on anyone’s to do list,” Bernstein said. “It’s very much a should. I’m not sure if it’s a could.”
Among job creation initiatives that experts say could emerge from Washington—albeit, not without considerable congressional wrangling—are the continuation of a temporary reduction on payroll taxes, and the extension of emergency unemployment benefits for people who have been out of work for six months or longer. Both of these temporary programs are set to expire at the end of the year, absent congressional action.
Collectively, they are pumping between $150 billion and $170 billion annually into the economy, Bernstein said.
Beyond the Beltway considerations constraining the scope of policy, some economists advocate more sweeping efforts to generate new jobs by the million.
Tcherneva, the Franklin & Marshall economist, says we need a modern version of the Works Progress Administration, one of the most ambitious undertakings of the New Deal, the federal government’s response to the alarming joblessness of the Great Depression. Then, the government directly employed millions of people, aiming them at building out public works projects of enduring value—dams, highways, parks and firehouses. This time, the federal government could channel funds to state and local government that could then employ private sector firms to build and revamp the needed infrastructure of today, adding light rail to reduce traffic congestion in major cities, upgrading parks and improving access to public education.
“There is such a wide need out there,” Tcherneva said. “The private sector is not creating enough jobs. We need an explicit government commitment to put the jobless to work.”
Some economists argue that infrastructure spending, while a potentially useful way to generate jobs, is not the most potent channel. A paper published last year by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College concludes that so-called social care—meaning early childhood education and home health care for the elderly—could generate even more jobs per federal dollar spent than infrastructure projects.
“It gives you about twice as many jobs per buck as infrastructure,” said Thomas Masterson, an economist at the Levy Institute and one of the paper’s authors. “And it’s more targeted for women who tend to be disadvantaged.”
The paper calls for $50 billion in annual government spending to hire early childhood educators who would provide child care for young children whose parents cannot afford it. The money would also provide home health care aides for the elderly.
Both of these areas of the economy provide large numbers of jobs to people lacking college degrees—a group now struggling with particularly severe unemployment. Among high school graduates 25 years and older who did not complete college, less than 55 percent are now employed, according to the Department of Labor. That is down from 60 percent four years ago.
Beyond the direct employment benefits, such a program would enable parents now unable to pay for child care to earn income outside their homes, while boosting the skills of children receiving care, Masterson said. Many states are now slashing support for subsidized childcare programs, while also cutting cash assistance programs for poor single mothers.
Other economists assert that the key to job creation is a focus on the people who should be cutting the paychecks, generating fresh incentives for employers to hire.
Two years ago, when the economy was still shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month, Aaron Edlin, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley and Edmund Phelps, an economist and Nobel laureate at Columbia University, delivered a paper calling for targeted tax credits for employers who hire low-wage workers.
“The credits would quickly boost the number of low-wage people that businesses employ,” the scholars asserted in their paper. “As the market for low-wage people tightened, the competition for them would pull up low-end pay rates.”
Edlin told HuffPost that this approach is now more urgently needed than ever.
“We have a serious risk of a double-dip recession,” he said. “If one is willing to ignore the political constraints, the best way to get large numbers of people back to work is to give tax credits or subsidies to employers for employing people, and particularly the people who have suffered the most, and that’s low wage people.”
Debate centers on whether such programs would produce sufficient benefits in an economy now painfully short of demand for goods and services, as consumers battered by years of diminishing fortunes pull back on spending.
Masterson, the Levy Institute economist, said that most employers are too worried about weak sales prospects to respond to an incentive to hire.
“If they can’t sell the stuff that they can make now, then why are they going to hire more people?” he said.
But in an economy the size of the United States’, some companies are always expanding. The tax incentives might coax those employers to hire more people than they would have otherwise. And once those workers have extra wages, they would distribute them at other businesses, thus creating more jobs—a virtuous cycle. This is the theory, at least.
“If workers are temporaily on sale,” said Brookings’ Burtless, “that will give employers a reason to add to their payrolls sooner rather than later.”
Press Releases | August 2011
One-Pager No. 11 | August 2011There is little mystery to explaining our current high levels of unemployment. The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently revised its figures on GDP growth, and revealed that not only was the recession worse than we realized, but recent growth rates have been overstated as well. The hole, in other words, was deeper than we thought, and we have been climbing out of it at a slower pace. Simply put, the economy has failed to recover to the point where it can be expected to generate sufficient job growth. In the event that Congress should turn its attention away from the (so far) purely notional dangers of rising debt levels and back toward the immediate and tangible jobs crisis, it might consider a solution that has been overlooked so far: job creation through social care investment.
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Working Paper No. 671 | May 2011
Case Studies in South Africa and the United States
This paper demonstrates the strong impacts that public job creation in social care provisioning has on employment creation. Furthermore, it shows that mobilizing underutilized domestic labor resources and targeting them to bridge gaps in community-based services yield strong pro-poor income growth patterns that extend throughout the economy. Social care provision also contributes to promoting gender equality, as women—especially from low-income households—constitute a major workforce in the care sector. We present the ex-ante policy simulation results from two country case studies: South Africa and the United States. Both social accounting matrix–based multiplier analysis and propensity ranking–based microsimulation provide evidence of the pro-poor impacts of the social care expansion.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 621 | September 2010
We need to go beyond the accepted notions relating to the role of women in the economy and society, especially in terms of what is recognized in mainstream theory and policy as “work” done by women. Thus, the traditional gender roles, with the man as the breadwinner and the woman in the role of housekeeper, do not explain the contribution of women in general. We also need to go beyond standard models to interpret the intrahousehold gender inequities. We do not gain much insight from dwelling on the cooperative-conflict type of bargaining concepts either, which are offered in the literature to unfold the process of women’s subordination within households. The issues relate to the intrahousehold power structure, which has an inbuilt bias against female members under patriarchy.
In terms of a policy agenda, especially in the context of social and economic disparities that affect women in particular, we need to recognize not only the collective social norms but also the unequal power relations that influence the sexual division of labor, both within the family and in the workplace. A notion of “gendered moral rationality,” complemented by the Rawlsian concept of “justice as fairness” (implying compensation for the underprivileged), can be used to devise policy that addresses the status of women both in the workplace and at home. We need a concerted move toward sensitization of gender issues and scrutiny entailing a gender audit at every level of activity. This may work at least partially until society is ready to remodel itself by treating men and women equally.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 610 | August 2010
A Strategy for Effective and Equitable Job CreationMassive job losses in the United States, over eight million since the onset of the “Great Recession,” call for job creation measures through fiscal expansion. In this paper we analyze the job creation potential of social service–delivery sectors—early childhood development and home-based health care—as compared to other proposed alternatives in infrastructure construction and energy. Our microsimulation results suggest that investing in the care sector creates more jobs in total, at double the rate of infrastructure investment. The second finding is that these jobs are more effective in reaching disadvantaged workers—those from poor households and with lower levels of educational attainment. Job creation in these sectors can easily be rolled out. States already have mechanisms and implementation capacity in place. All that is required is policy recalibration to allow funds to be channeled into sectors that deliver jobs both more efficiently and more equitably.Download:Associated Program(s):Employment Policy and Labor Markets The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the EconomyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 600 | May 2010This study is concerned with the measurement of poverty in the context of developing countries. We argue that poverty rankings must take into account time use dimensions of paid and unpaid work jointly. Reviewing the current state of the literature on this topic, our methodology introduces a critical but missing analytical distinction between time poverty and time deprivation. On this basis, we proceed to provide empirical evidence by using South African time use survey data compiled in 2000. Our findings show that existing methods that work well for advanced countries require modification when adopted in the case of a developing country. The results identify a group of adults who previously were inadvertently missing, as they were considered "time wealthy."Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 598 | May 2010
Gender Perspectives and Policy ChoicesThis paper looks at the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), where economies have been most dramatically hit by the global crisis and its impact is likely to be most long-lasting, especially among poor and vulnerable groups. Using poverty as the main axis, it looks at aspects of economic and social development in countries at similar poverty levels to identify the degree of fiscal space in each, as well as the different policy choices made. The paper argues that despite such economic fundamentals as increasing external debt, worsening current account imbalances, and demands for a balanced budget, governments have policy choices to make about how to protect different groups, especially the most vulnerable—including women.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Fatma Gül Unal Mirjana Dokmanovic Rafis AbazovRelated Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 108A | April 2010
In his State of the Union address President Obama acknowledged that “our most urgent task is job creation”—that a move toward full employment will lay the foundation for long-term economic growth and ensure that the federal government creates the necessary conditions for businesses to expand and hire more workers. According to a new study by Levy scholars Rania Antonopoulos, Kijong Kim, Thomas Masterson, and Ajit Zacharias, the government needs to identify and invest in projects that have the potential for massive, and immediate, public job creation. They conclude that social sector investment, such as early childhood education and home-based care, would generate twice as many jobs as infrastructure spending and nearly 1.5 times the number created by investment in green energy, while catering to the most vulnerable segments of the workforce.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 590 | March 2010
Despite the policy realm’s growing recognition of fiscal devolution in gender development, there have been relatively few attempts to translate gender commitments into fiscal commitments. This paper aims to engage in this significant debate, focusing on the plausibility of incorporating gender into financial devolution, with the Thirteenth Finance Commission of India as backdrop. Given the disturbing demographics—the monotonous decline in the juvenile sex ratio, especially in some of the prosperous states of India—there can be no valid objection to using Finance Commission transfers for this purpose. A simple method for accomplishing this could be to introduce some weight in favor of the female population of the states in the Commission’s fiscal devolution formula. The message would be even stronger and more appropriate if the population of girl children only—that is, the number of girls in the 0–6 age cohort—is adopted as the basis for determining the states’ relative shares of the amount to be disbursed by applying the allotted weight. A special dispensation for girls would also be justifiable in a scheme of need-based equalization transfers. While social mores cannot be changed by fiscal fiats, particularly when prejudices run deep, a proactive approach by a high constitutional body like the Finance Commission is called for, especially when the prejudices are blatantly oppressive. Indeed, such action is imperative. The intergovernmental transfer system can and should play a role in upholding the right to life for India’s girl children. That being said, it needs to be mentioned that it is not plausible to incorporate more gender variables in the Finance Commission’s already complex transfer formula. In other words, inclusion of a “gender inequality index” in the formula may not result in the intended results, as the variables included in the index may cancel one another out. Accepting the fact that incorporating gender criteria in fiscal devolution could only be the second-best principle for engendering fiscal policy, the paper argues that newfound policy space for the feminization of local governance, coupled with an engendered fiscal devolution to the third tier, can lead to public expenditure decisions that correspond more closely to the revealed preferences (“voice”) of women. With the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments, this policy space is favorable at the local level for conducting gender responsive budgeting.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 108 | February 2010In his State of the Union address President Obama acknowledged that “our most urgent task is job creation”—that a move toward full employment will lay the foundation for long-term economic growth and ensure that the federal government creates the necessary conditions for businesses to expand and hire more workers. According to a new study by Levy scholars Rania Antonopoulos, Kijong Kim, Thomas Masterson, and Ajit Zacharias, the government needs to identify and invest in projects that have the potential for massive, and immediate, public job creation. They conclude that social sector investment, such as early childhood education and home-based care, would generate twice as many jobs as infrastructure spending and nearly 1.5 times the number created by investment in green energy, while catering to the most vulnerable segments of the workforce.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Book Series | January 2010
Gender, Time Use and Poverty in Developing Countries
This volume offers both theoretical and policy-oriented examinations of the value of unpaid work, usually unacknowledged but increasingly recognized as an organic component of the economy. Particularly in developing countries, much of the provisioning of basic needs occurs beyond the boundaries of market transactions. This book reveals a need to incorporate unpaid work in economic analysis—specifically, in the context of poverty and gender equality.
The research focuses on three significant regions: Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Contributors investigate the intersections of income poverty, unpaid work, and women's overtaxed time, building upon the existing literature and synthesizing diverse strands of time-use survey data to make concrete policy recommendations for development strategies. Individual chapters assess established measures of time use, propose new ones, and analyze and compare possible alternates. Conceptual and empirical studies identifying key issues related to the measurement and evaluation of time distribution are also included, as are estimates and their significance.
This collection resulted from a project undertaken by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College in collaboration with members of the International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics (GEM-IWG) to analyze the many economic implications of nonmarket activities disproportionately carried out by women worldwide—willingly or not.
Published By: Palgrave Macmillan
Working Paper No. 577 | September 2009
This paper evaluates gender wage differentials in Georgia between 2000 and 2004. Using ordinary least squares, we find that the gender wage gap in Georgia is substantially higher than in other transition countries. Correcting for sample selection bias using the Heckman approach further increases the gender wage gap. The Blinder Oaxaca decomposition results suggest that most of the wage gap remains unexplained. The explained portion of the gap is almost entirely attributed to industrial variables. We find that the gender wage gap in Georgia diminished between 2000 and 2004.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 572 | August 2009
This study uses the first time-use survey carried out in South Africa (2000) to examine women’s and men’s time use, with a focus on the impacts of income poverty. We empirically explore the determinants of time spent on different paid and unpaid work activities, including a variety of household and individual characteristics, using bivariate and multivariate Tobit estimations. Our results show asymmetric impacts of income poverty on women’s and men’s time use. Time-use patterns of South African women and men reveal the unequal burden of income poverty among household members. While being poor increases the amount of time women spend on unpaid work, we do not see any significant impact on men’s unpaid work time. For example, women in poor households spend more time than men collecting water and fuel, as well as maintaining their homes.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Burca Kizilirmak Emel MemişRelated Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief Highlights No. 101A | August 2009
Lessons Learned from South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme
Beyond loss of income, joblessness is associated with greater poverty, marginalization, and social exclusion; the current global crisis is clearly not helping. In this new Public Policy Brief, Research Scholar Rania Antonopoulos explores the impact of both joblessness and employment expansion on poverty, paying particular attention to the gender aspects of poverty and poverty-reducing public employment schemes targeting poor women.
The author presents the results of a Levy Institute study that examines the macroeconomic consequences of scaling up South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme by adding to it a new sector for social service delivery in health and education. She notes that gaps in such services for households that cannot afford to pay for them are mostly filled by long hours of invisible, unpaid work performed by women and children. Her proposed employment creation program addresses several policy objectives: income and job generation, provisioning of communities’ unmet needs, skill enhancement for a new cadre of workers, and promotion of gender equality by addressing the overtaxed time of women.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 570 | July 2009
The Macroeconomic Implications of HIV and AIDS on Women's Time-tax Burdens
This paper considers public employment guarantee programs in the context of South Africa as a means to address the nexus of poverty, unemployment, and unpaid work burdens—all factors exacerbated by HIV/AIDS. It further discusses the need for genderinformed public job creation in areas that mitigate the “time-tax” burdens of women, and examines a South African initiative to address social sector service delivery deficits within the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme. The authors highlight the need for well-designed employment guarantee programs—specifically, programs centered on community and home-based care—as a potential way to help offset the destabilizing effects of HIV/AIDS and endemic poverty. The paper concludes with results from macroeconomic simulations of such a program, using a social accounting matrix framework, and sets out implications for both participants and policymakers.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Public Policy Brief No. 101 | June 2009
Lessons Learned from South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme
Beyond loss of income, joblessness is associated with greater poverty, marginalization, and social exclusion; the current global crisis is clearly not helping. In this new Public Policy Brief, Research Scholar Rania Antonopoulos explores the impact of both joblessness and employment expansion on poverty, paying particular attention to the gender aspects of poverty and poverty-reducing public employment schemes targeting poor women.
The author presents the results of a Levy Institute study that examines the macroeconomic consequences of scaling up South Africa’s Expanded Public Works Programme by adding to it a new sector for social service delivery in health and education. She notes that gaps in such services for households that cannot afford to pay for them are mostly filled by long hours of invisible, unpaid work performed by women and children. Her proposed employment creation program addresses several policy objectives: income and job generation, provisioning of communities’ unmet needs, skill enhancement for a new cadre of workers, and promotion of gender equality by addressing the overtaxed time of women.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Press Releases | June 2009
Working Paper No. 562 | May 2009
A Gender Perspective
Widespread economic recessions and protracted financial crises have been documented as setting back gender equality and other development goals in the past. In the midst of the current global crisis—often referred to as “the Great Recession”—there is grave concern that progress made in poverty reduction and women’s equality will be reversed. Indeed, for many developing countries it is particularly worrisome that, through no fault of their own, the global economic downturn has exacerbated effects from other crises manifest in food insecurity, poverty, and increasing inequality. This paper explores both well-known and less discussed paths of transmission through which crises affect women’s world of work and overall wellbeing. As demand for textile and agricultural exports decline, along with tourism, job losses are expected to rise in these female-intensive industries. In addition, the gendered nature of the world of work suggests that women will see an increase in their share among informal and vulnerable workers worldwide, and will also supply more of their labor under unpaid conditions. The latter is particularly important in the context of developing countries, where many production activities take place outside the strict boundaries of the market. The paper also makes this point: examined through the prism of gender equality, the ability of the state to implement countercyclical policies matters greatly. If policy responses at the national and international levels end up aggravating inequities, gender equality processes face many more barriers, especially among the poor.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 550 | November 2008
Gender affects household spending in two areas that have been widely studied in the literature. One strand documents that greater female bargaining power within households results in a variety of shifts in household production and consumption. An important source of intrahousehold bargaining power is ownership of assets, especially land. Another strand examines gender bias in spending on children. This paper addresses both strands simultaneously. In it, differences in spending on education are examined empirically, at both the household and the individual level. Results are mixed, though the balance of evidence weighs toward pro-male bias in spending on education at the household level. Results also indicate that the relationship between asset ownership and female bargaining power within the household is contingent on the type of asset.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 541 | July 2008
In order to provide a coherent perspective of gender differences in the world of work, the many intersections of paid and unpaid work must be brought to light. It is well documented that gender-based wage differentials and occupational segregation continue to characterize the division of labor among men and women in paid work; yet unpaid work in social reproduction, subsistence production, family businesses, and the community is often ignored. When it is taken into account, it is usually done in a very limited manner, equating unpaid work with the traditional roles women play in raising children and performing maintenance chores. Beyond the obvious gender inequalities characterizing the latter, unpaid work constitutes an integral part of any functioning economy, and as such is linked to economic growth, government policy, migration, and many development issues. This paper concludes that the “world of work” cannot be treated in complete disregard to unpaid forms of labor, and gender equality must be understood through the lens of the paid–unpaid work continuum.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Working Paper No. 540 | July 2008
Women Carpet Weavers of Iran
The process of economic globalization has winners and losers. Iran’s carpet industry provides a good illustration of the adverse side of this process. As the production costs of its rivals have fallen, surging international trade has reduced the market share of Iran's labor-intensive products, especially Persian carpets.
This paper reports the findings of an informal survey of carpet weavers conducted in and around the Iranian city of Kashan, showing how harsh international competition has reduced the weavers’ real wages and restructured the labor force of the industry in Iran. Middle-income families have left the industry, and poor Afghan immigrant householders and their children are increasingly taking the place of Iranian weavers. Furthermore, weaving is consistent with the subordinate position of women carpet weavers within the household; as a form of employment, it has hardly affected the social status quo.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Zahra Karimi
Working Paper No. 536 | July 2008
Evidence from a Time-use Survey for the Water Sector in India
This paper presents new evidence on the links between public-infrastructure provisioning and time allocation related to the water sector in India. An analysis of time-use data reveals that worsening public infrastructure affects market work, with evident gender differentials. The results also suggest that access to public infrastructure can lead to substitution effects in time allocation between unpaid work and market work. The broad conclusion of the paper is that public-investment policy can redress intrahousehold inequalities, in terms of labor-supply decisions, by supporting initiatives that reduce the allocation of time in nonmarket work.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Research Project Reports No. 34 | January 2008
South Africa and India
Documents relating to the South Africa and India case studies are available below.
- Appendix A. SAM–SA Technical Report
- Appendix B. Statistical Analysis
- Appendix C. Job Identification Tables
- Appendix D. SAM Reformulation
Annotated BibliographyAssociated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 519 | November 2007
The Impact of Argentina’s Jefes Program on Female Heads of Poor Households
In 2002, Argentina implemented a large-scale public employment program to deal with the latest economic crisis and the ensuing massive unemployment and poverty. The program, known as Plan Jefes, offered part-time work for unemployed heads of households, and yet more than 70 percent of the people who turned up for work were women. The present paper evaluates the operation of this program, its macroeconomic effects, and its impact on program participants. We report findings from our 2005 meetings with policymakers and visits to different project sites. We find that Jefes addresses many important community problems, is well received by participants, and serves the needs of women particularly well. Some of the benefits women report are working in mother-friendly jobs, getting needed training and education, helping the community, and finding dignity and empowerment through work.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 518 | October 2007
Evidence from an Asymmetric VAR Model
This paper analyzes the real (direct) and financial crowding out in India between 1970–71 and 2002–03. Using an asymmetric vector autoregressive (VAR) model, the paper finds no real crowding out between public and private investment; rather, complementarity is observed between the two. The dynamics of financial crowding out is captured through the dual transmission mechanism via the real rate of interest—that is, whether private capital formation is interest-rate sensitive and, in turn, whether the rise in the real rate of interest is induced by a fiscal deficit. The study found empirical evidence for the former but not the latter, supporting the conclusion that there is no financial crowding out in India. The differential impacts of public infrastructure and noninfrastruture innovations on the private corporate sector are carried out separately to analyze the nonhomogeneity aspects of public investment. The results of the Impulse Response Function reinforced that no other macrovariables, including cost and quantity of credit and the output gap, have been as significant as public investment—in particular, public infrastructure investment—in determining private corporate investment in the medium and long terms, which has crucial policy implications.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):
Working Paper No. 516 | September 2007
Employment Guarantee Policies from a Gender Perspective
There is now widespread recognition that in most countries, private-sector investment has not been able to absorb surplus labor. This is all the more the case for poor unskilled people. Public works programs and employment guarantee schemes in South Africa, India, and other countries provide jobs while creating public assets. In addition to physical infrastructure, an area that has immense potential to create much-needed jobs is that of social service delivery and social infrastructure. While unemployment and enforced “idleness” persist, existing time-use survey data reveal that people around the world—especially women and children—spend long hours performing unpaid work. This work includes not only household maintenance and care provisioning for family members and communities, but also time spent that helps fill public infrastructural gaps—for example, in the energy, health, and education sectors. This paper suggests that, by bringing together public job creation, on the one hand, and unpaid work, on the other, well-designed employment guarantee policies can promote job creation, gender equality, and pro-poor development.Download:Associated Program(s):Gender Equality and the Economy Employment Policy and Labor Markets Economic Policy for the 21st CenturyAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 504 | July 2007
Previous work has shown a pattern of lower household incomes for those Paraguayan farms with female landowners in the household. The study of agricultural production reveals that Paraguayan women specialize in livestock and dairy production, while men specialize in crop production. An analysis of crop specialization and crop yields finds no significant differences in yields among households along gender lines, although women appear to specialize in food crops. Finally, households with female land rights have markedly lower rates of return on agricultural production.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Working Paper No. 496 | May 2007
We explore the relationships between aggregate profitability and women’s growing share of market work in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. Using decomposition analysis and counterfactuals, we investigate whether the contribution of the declining wage share to the upswing in profitability was aided by the growing incorporation of women into the workforce. Results show that women helped to moderate the decline in the aggregate wage share. The counterfactuals suggest that the reduction in gender pay disparity overwhelmed the negative effect of women’s growing share of market work on the wage share. The decline in the wage share was driven primarily by distributional changes within the sectors rather than by changes in the composition of value added. In sectors where wage shares fell, however, women did not restrain the fall, indicating that the aggregate outcome was the net result of distinct sectoral trends in women’s employment.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Melissa Mahoney Ajit Zacharias
Working Paper No. 495 | April 2007
Evidence from Bolivia
This working paper analyzes paid and unpaid work-time inequalities among Bolivian urban adults using time use data from a 2001 household survey. We identified a gender-based division of labor characterized not so much by who does what type of work but by how much work of each type they do. There is a trade-off between paid and unpaid work, but this trade-off is only partial: women’s entry into the labor market tends to result in a double shift of paid and unpaid work. We also find very high levels of within-group inequality in the distributions of paid and unpaid work-time for men and women, a sign that, beyond the sexual division of labor, subgroup differentiation is also important. Using decompositions of the inequality in the distribution of total time spent at work, we show that gender plays an important role in determining the proportion of paid to unpaid work done by individuals, but it plays a lesser role in determining the higher total workload of some individuals relative to others.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Marcelo Medeiros Rafael Guerreiro Osório Joana Costa
Working Paper No. 493 | March 2007
Toward a Path of Expanded Democracy and Gender Equality
Should the state treat men and women in identical ways, or should it legislate and enforce policies that are aware of gender differences? In other words, should the state be gender-blind or gender-sensitive? Gender, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, ideological, economic, political, and cultural dimensions represent diversity among citizens. This paper argues that if the goal of the state is to promote democratic participation for all, a distinction must be drawn between socioeconomic characteristics that signify difference and those that manifest inequalities. The former require a politics of acceptance and recognition and policies to match, while the latter necessitate interventions that remedy or remove structural elements that result in inequalities. The authors suggest that such a framework is useful in that it lends itself to a better understanding of gender-based asymmetries.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Rania Antonopoulos Francisco Cos-Montiel
Working Paper No. 467 | August 2006
Although the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been ratified in global and national forums, they have not yet been incorporated into operational planning within governments or international organizations. The weak link between the policies and the investments needed for their implementation is one barrier to progress. An assessment of the resources required is a critical first step in formulating and implementing strategies to achieve the MDGs.
This is especially true for policies to promote gender equality and empower women. Although enough is known about such policies to implement them successfully, the costs of such interventions are not systematically calculated and integrated into country-level budgeting processes. Using country-level data, the paper estimates the costs of interventions aimed at promoting gender equality and women's empowerment in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda. It then uses these estimates to calculate the costs of such interventions in other low-income countries. Finally, the paper projects the financing gap for interventions that aim directly at achieving gender equality, first for the five countries, and subsequently for all low-income countriesDownload:Associated Program:Author(s):Chandrika Bahadur Diane Elson Caren A. Grown Jessie Handbury
Working Paper No. 436 | January 2006
Competition and Gender Wage and Employment Differentials in US Manufacturing
This study investigates the impact of increased import competition on gender wage and employment differentials in American manufacturing over the period from 1976 to 1993. Increased import competition is expected to decrease the relative demand for workers in low-wage production occupations and the relative demand for women workers, given the high female share in these occupations. The findings support this hypothesis. Disproportionate job losses for women in low-wage production occupations was associated with rising imports in US manufacturing over this period, and as low-wage women lost their jobs, the average wage of the remaining women in the study increased, thereby narrowing the gender wage gap.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):
Working Paper No. 418 | February 2005
Evidence from Thailand
Gender differences have long been documented in earnings, employment opportunities, and time spent within the unpaid care economy. This paper joins the recent efforts in the economics literature on gender differences in asset ownership. Specifically, it investigates whether a gender-specific composition in asset ownership between heads of households and spouses can be detected among low-income, urban households in Bangkok, Thailand. The present case study explores this issue empirically, using a sample of 134 couples from a 2002 survey that collected data at the level of the individual respondent on accumulated physical and financial assets. Both husband and wife were interviewed separately and the data gathered from the interviews include pertinent household and individual information on employment, credit and household decision-making issues. The findings suggest that asset composition varies by gender, indicating that further investigation is warranted on this topic. Tobit and Probit tests are used to examine the factors that may affect this gendered pattern.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Rania Antonopoulos Maria Sagrario Floro
Working Paper No. 373 | February 2003
Evidence from East Asia
This study explores the impact of competition from international trade on the gender wage gap in Taiwan and South Korea between 1980 and 1999. The dynamic implications of Becker's 1959 theory of discrimination lead one to expect that increased competition from international trade reduces the incentive for employers to discriminate against women. This effect should be more pronounced in concentrated sectors of the economy, where employers can use excess profits to cover the costs of discrimination. Alternatively, wage discrimination may increase with growing trade limiting women's ability to achieve wage gains. The empirical strategy controls for differences in market structure across industries in order to isolate the effect of competition from international trade. Estimation results are not consistent with Becker's theory, as greater international competition in concentrated sectors is associated with larger wage gaps between men and women.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Günseli Berik Yana Van der Meulen Rodgers Joseph E. Zveglich Jr.
Working Paper No. 351 | August 2002
We use data from the Current Population Survey (CPS 1994-2001) to document the relationship between gender-specific demographic variations and the gender-poverty gap among eight racial/ethnic groups. We find that black and Puerto Rican women experience a double disadvantage owing to being both women and members of a minority group. As compared with whites, however, gender inequality among other minority groups is relatively small. By utilizing a standardization technique, we are able to estimate the importance of gender-specific demographic and socioeconomic composition in shaping differences in men's and women's poverty rates both within and across racial/ethnic lines. The analysis reveals that sociodemographic characteristics have a distinct effect on the poverty rate of minority women, and that the form and the magnitude of the effect vary across racial/ethnic lines. By incorporating the newly available immigration information in the CPS data, we are also able to document the effect of immigration status on gender inequality. The social and economic implications of the findings for the study of gender inequality are discussed in the last section of the article.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Yuval Elmelech Hsien-Hen Lu