Daniel Aaronson, Rajeev Dehejia, Andrew Jordan, Cristian Pop-Eleches , Cyrus Samii, Karl Schulze, 15 September 2017

Women’s fertility and labour supply decisions are made simultaneously, making it difficult to identify the effect of the former on the latter. This column explores the relationship using a dataset spanning 200 years and 103 countries, leveraging twin births to isolate causal effects. The key finding is that as countries develop, women’s labour supply becomes more responsive to additional children. The global decline in fertility over the last century has played a positive role in increasing women’s work in developed countries, but a negligible one in developing countries.

Manuel Bagues, Pamela Campa, 09 September 2017

Several countries in the EU have adopted gender quotas that regulate the composition of electoral lists in an attempt to address the underrepresentation of women in political institutions. This column examines the effect of the introduction of gender quotas in local elections in Spain. While the quotas have increased the number of women elected, they have not significantly increased the probability of women reaching leadership positions, or the type of policies that are implemented. At the same time, fears that quotas would decrease the quality of politicians have not been realised.

Romesh Vaitilingam, 06 September 2017

Although we like to see ourselves as sensible and logical decision-makers, studies show that our decisions are driven by many other (often subconscious) factors. The Think Forward Initiative is exploring how people can be empowered to make better financial decisions. This column summarises findings presented at the Initiative’s second Summit, which focused around three broad themes: daily financial affairs; finance for the future; and financial literacy.

Thomas Baudin, David de la Croix, Paula E. Gobbi, 25 July 2017

The fertility of women in developing countries is higher on average than in developed countries, yet many women in developing countries remain childless. This column argues that understanding the causes of why some women choose childlessness is important if we wish to predict the impact that development policies have on the demographic transition of poor countries.

Hiromi Hara, 19 July 2017

Although the gender wage gap in Japan has been decreasing over the last 15 years, it remains large. This column shows that both the ‘glass ceiling’ and the ‘sticky floor’ exist in the Japanese labour market. The country’s human resource management system and a culture which rewards those who are willing to work outside of regular hours are to blame.

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