Dan Anderberg, Helmut Rainer, Fabian Siuda, 20 November 2021

Concerns that domestic violence would intensify during the COVID-19 lockdowns were not borne out by early research. But that research relied on police records. This column suggests that studies based solely on police-recorded incidents of domestic violence provide a less accurate picture than sources less susceptible to changes in reporting behaviour. Based on internet search activity, the authors find a 40% increase in domestic violence incidents in London during the lockdowns – seven to eight times larger than estimates relying on police data alone.

Rigissa Megalokonomou, Marian Vidal-Fernandez, Duygu Yengin, 11 November 2021

Women are now more likely to pursue a university degree than men, but the proportion of women graduating in economics has decreased or remained stagnant over the past two decades. This column examines the representation of women in undergraduate economics degrees in 25 European countries during 2014–2018. The ratio of women to men in economics, controlling for gender differences in enrolment, has been around 0.6 on average and is stable or decreasing. Increased representation of women economists is important for more balanced policy recommendations, and the authors discuss how this might be achieved. 

Natalie Bau, Gaurav Khanna, Corinne Low, Manisha Shah, Sreyashi Sharmin, Alessandra Voena, 22 October 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic represents a twin health and economic shock with devastating effects, particularly in low-income settings. This column uses a large phone survey and leverages the geographical variation in India's containment policies to examine how the pandemic and its containment policies affect women’s wellbeing. The authors find that stricter containment policies, while potentially crucial to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, are associated with worse female mental health and increased food insecurity, particularly for the most vulnerable women.

Jason Furman, Melissa Kearney, Wilson Powell, 06 August 2021

As of June 2021, the US labour-force participation rate had not yet recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels. This column explores how much the aggregate decline in employment between 2020 and 2021 can be explained by excess job loss among parents, and particularly mothers, of young children, who have had to contend with school and daycare closures during the pandemic. The findings suggest that excessive employment declines among parents do not explain a sizeable share of ongoing job loss. A larger decline in employment for parents of young children was seen only among women without a bachelor’s degree.

Paula Calvo, Ilse Lindenlaub, Ana Reynoso, 14 July 2021

While progress in closing gender gaps has been made, women around the world still earn less than men in the labour market. At the same time, income inequality across households has increased in recent decades. This column finds that the interaction of the marriage market and the labour market crucially impacts inequality across gender and within/between households. Policies that affect who marries whom (such as tax policies) or home production choices (such as parental leave or universal childcare) can mitigate or amplify inequality, calling for a better understanding of these spillovers across markets.

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