Ingvild Almås, Alex Armand, Orazio Attanasio, Pedro Carneiro, 26 March 2016

Most conditional cash transfer programmes around the world target women as the recipients of transfers as a means of empowering them and promoting gender equality. However, the mechanisms at work are poorly understood and empowerment is not well defined or measured. This column discusses a new measure of female empowerment in the household within the context of a national cash transfer programme in Macedonia. Whereas conventional survey questions about power and decision-making don’t reveal any empowerment effects of the programme, this new measure reveals a positive effect.

Alison Booth, Lina Cardona Sosa, 06 February 2012

Some blame women’s under-representation in high-level jobs on differences between the sexes in risk aversion and competitiveness. But are these differences in behaviour hardwired or learned? The authors of CEPR DP8690 tackled this thorny question with a controlled experiment in single-sex and co-educational classrooms. Women, they find, become far less timorous about uncertainty with the men out of the room.

Matthias Doepke, Michèle Tertilt, 20 June 2011

Evidence suggests that putting money in the hands of mothers (as opposed to their husbands) benefits children. Does this mean targeting transfers to women is good economic policy? The authors of CEPR DP8441 find that different forms of empowering women may lead to opposite results. More research is needed to distinguish between alternative theoretical models.

Leo Abruzzese, 26 September 2010

Women’s economic empowerment has been a defining feature of the last century. Yet while women today comprise more than half of the global workforce, their wages and economic opportunities still lag behind those of men. This column takes a closer look at the economic landscape for women and how it compares across countries, using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s new Women’s Economic Opportunity Index as a guide.

Matthias Doepke, 21 November 2008

Matthias Doepke of Northwestern University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research on the emergence of women’s rights and gender equality in England and the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth century. The interview was recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Milan in August 2008.

Matthias Doepke, Michèle Tertilt, 26 May 2008

Women in rich countries largely enjoy gender equality while those in poor countries suffer substantial discrimination. This column proposes an explanation for the relationship between economic development and female empowerment that emphasises changes in the incentives males face rather than shifts in moral sentiment. Technological change that raises demand for human capital may give men a stake in women’s rights.

Denis Drechsler, Johannes Jütting, 07 March 2008

Discrimination against women significantly hampers the economic development of many poor countries. This column introduces two new OECD Development Centre efforts to assess and reduce gender discrimination, including a new portal www.wikigender.org.

Gilles Saint-Paul, 09 February 2008

The conservative Spanish Partido Popular has proposed gender-based taxation in line with recent research and several Vox columns by Alberto Alesina and Andrea Ichino. Here one of Europe’s most eminent labour economists makes the counter argument.

Manuel Bagues, Berta Esteve-Volart, 27 July 2007

Many nations are imposing gender quotas on top-level jobs. Recent research suggests that such policies do not have a positive knock-on effect on gender balance in lower positions.

Stefania Albanesi, Claudia Olivetti, 20 July 2007

Medical advances in the early part of the twentieth century, especially those concerning child-bearing, increased the fraction of women’s lives that could be devoted to the labour market. They account for the threefold increase in the labour force participation of married women with children between 1920 and 1970 in the US.

Juan Dolado, 12 June 2007

Gender equality policies seek to shift market outcomes. Economic logic and empirical research suggest that such policies can help if they are applied consistently for a long period.

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