Publications on Gender inequality
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 Zuazu
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 Brenck
Working Paper No. 963 | July 2020The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly appeared out of nowhere but changed nearly everything. As the pandemic unfolded, industries deemed nonessential were leveled. Many occupations in these industries are low-wage, and women constitute a greater share of America’s low-wage labor force than men. Even as some workers were able to do their jobs from their homes, a high proportion of “essential workers” were African American, other people of color, women, and an intersection of these groups—women of color. The goal of this paper is to closely examine the contours, depth, and causes of COVID-19’s impact on Black women’s employment in the United States through the lenses of both feminist economic theory and stratification economics.
The data appendix for Holder, Jones, and Masterson, "The Early Impact of COVID-19 on Job Losses Among Black Women in the United States," forthcoming in Feminist Economics is available here. This appendix includes detailed tables of major labor force indicators by race and sex; employment by race, sex, and industry and occupation; and unemployment by race and sex for early 2020.
Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Michelle Holder Janelle Jones Thomas Masterson
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 Programs:Author(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 Programs:Author(s):Bhavya Aggarwal Lekha S. Chakraborty
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 Bahçe
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 Memiş