Michael Bar, Moshe Hazan, Oksana Leukhina, David Weiss, Hosny Zoabi, 13 January 2018

Over recent decades, the trend for high-skilled, career-focused women to have fewer children, if any at all, has reversed. Using US data, this column shows that rising wage inequality is behind the reversal. Greater income inequality enables high-income families to outsource household production to lower-income people. Changes to minimum wage laws are thus likely to affect the fertility and career decisions of the rich.

Stefania Albanesi, Aysegul Sahin, 03 January 2018

The gender unemployment gap which had persisted in the US until the early 1980s disappeared after 1983 (except during recessions, when unemployment among men has always exceeded that among women). This column argues that the convergence in female and male labour force attachment accounts for most of the closing of the gender unemployment gap. It also shows that gender differences in industry composition are the main source of the cyclicality of the unemployment gap.

Erin Hengel, 22 December 2017

When evaluated by narrowly defined quality measures, women are often found to outperform men. This column uses an analysis of almost 10,000 articles in top economics journals to show that one area where this is the case is clarity of writing. Tougher editorial standards and/or biased referee assignment may force women to write better, and may also reduce their productivity.

Julia Bredtmann, Sebastian Otten, Christian Rulff, 21 December 2017

Little is known about how unemployment shocks are absorbed within the household. This column uses longitudinal micro data for 28 European countries to investigate the effect of husbands’ job loss on wives’ labour supply. Overall, there is evidence that women increase their labour supply in response to their husband losing a job. However, the response varies over both the business cycle and across different welfare regimes.

Richard Blundell, Luigi Pistaferri, Itay Saporta Eksten, 18 December 2017

Households can insure their living standards against shocks to wages or employment through the allocation of goods and time. This column presents a model for couples’ decisions on how much to consume or save and how to allocate their available time to three activities – work, leisure, and the care of children – and uses the model to simulate behaviour in response to new policies. The results suggest that the reduction of the mother's childcare time should be an important part of any analysis of the consequences of policies or external shocks that incentivise mothers with young children into work.

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