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.

Ana Paula Franco, Sebastian Galiani, Pablo Lavado, 29 July 2021

Historical institutions can have long-lasting effects on societies and economies. The Inca Road has been a linchpin of the colonial economy in the New World, but its impact on current development has not been studied in great depth. This column examines the impact of the road on today’s educational, development, and labour outcomes. Proximity to the Inca Road increased the average level of educational attainment and decreased stunting among children by 5%. It boosted average hourly wages by 20% and reduced informality by six percentage points. Moreover, these effects were around 40% greater among women.

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.

Anna Raute, Uta Schӧnberg, 02 July 2021

Do cultural norms determine whether women go back to work after having a child? And if culture changes, does their behaviour change too? Anna Raute and Uta Schӧnberg tell Tim Phillips how the reunification of Germany provided unique data.

The paper discussed is:
Boelmann, B, Raute, A and Schӧnberg, U. 2021. 'Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16149

 

Alessandra Bonfiglioli, Federica De Pace, 25 June 2021

The rise in income inequality and, more prominently, in the wage gap between men and women has been one of the major concerns among policymakers and the public in recent years. This column presents new evidence from Germany on the impact of exports on the gender wage gap which shows that an increase in a plant’s exports significantly reduces the wage gap between male and female co-workers in white-collar occupations, but widens it for employees in blue-collar occupations. The findings suggest that designing policies that support women taking part in trade, especially in positions in which they would benefit from their comparative advantage, is crucial to maximise the potential benefits from globalisation.    

Arash Nekoei, Fabian Sinn, 27 May 2021

The international differences in women's status are striking. When and where did those differences first emerge? Is women's status improving everywhere today so that we expect global gender equality eventually? This column uses data from the Human Biological Record to explore women's status over the last 5,000 years. The records show no long-run trend in women's share in recorded history. Historically, women's power has been a side-effect of nepotism: the more important family connections, the higher the women's share. But self-made women began to rise among the writers in the 17th century before a broader take-off in the 19th century. Exploring these captivating and yet unanswered questions teaches us about the future of women and other emancipation movements.

Danilo Cavapozzi, Marco Francesconi, Cheti Nicoletti, 13 May 2021

Despite a significant reduction in gender differences in the labour market over the last 40 years, they are still present in most advanced economies and do not appear likely to vanish soon. This column analyses the impact of culture, defined by women’s gender role attitudes, on maternal labour market decisions. It finds that social pressure is at least as strong as social learning in influencing labour market behaviour. Once these channels are accounted for, there is no direct effect of peers’ gender identity norms on labour force participation. Disseminating detailed statistics on female labour market outcomes and work attitudes may prove to be a cost-effective way to promote labour market participation, especially among less-educated mothers.

Alma Cohen, Moshe Hazan, David Weiss, 08 March 2021

The gender gap in corporate America is increasingly well documented, but the literature has not yet examined how a CEO’s political preferences might be associated with gender equality in the executive suite. Focusing on the US, this column compares the fraction of a CEO’s political contributions that went to Republican, rather than Democratic, candidates and the gender balance among top executives (excluding the CEO). Companies run by a CEO who only donates to Democrats employ a 15–25% higher fraction of women in the executive suite than those run by CEOs who only donate to Republicans.

Philip Hanspach, Virginia Sondergeld, Jess Palka, 15 February 2021

Women economists remain underrepresented in leadership positions across the academic world as well as in the private and public sectors. This column uses data from the 2020 edition of the Women in Economics Index (WiE) to document imbalances in the profession’s gender distribution, discuss what those imbalances reveal about the state of the profession broadly, and emphasise the importance of equal opportunity to the field’s future. Removing barriers in economics will not only facilitate workplace fairness but may also improve outcomes.

Alex Chernoff, Casey Warman, 02 February 2021

COVID-19 may accelerate the automation of jobs, as employers invest in technology to safeguard against pandemics. This column uses survey data from the US to show that women with medium to low levels of wages and education are at the highest risk of COVID-induced automation.

Vincenzo Galasso, Vincent Pons, Paola Profeta, 07 November 2020

The efficacy of government lockdown measures to contain COVID-19 hinges on people’s willingness to comply. It is critical to identify and convince those who are the least compliant. This column surveyed over 21,000 respondents in eight OECD countries, in March and April 2020, on beliefs about COVID-19 and containment measures and their level of compliance with the measures. Men and women differ strikingly in both beliefs and behaviours, with women are more likely to take the pandemic seriously and more compliant than men. The findings suggest that public health communication should target men and women differently.

Graziella Bertocchi, Monica Bozzano, 05 October 2020

For most of history, women have been undereducated relative to men. While the gender gap in education has closed – and even reversed – in recent times, sharp differences still exist across levels of education and countries. Even where women have outpaced men in educational attainment, gender gaps in employment, entrepreneurship and politics persist. Women are visibly underrepresented in STEM and economics – fields typically lead to higher employability and wages. This column reviews the historical roots of the gender gap, which, despite changing conditions and incentives, continue to exert an influence through labour markets, family formation dynamics, and cultural factors. 

Sam Cosaert, Alexandros Theloudis, Bertrand Verheyden, 28 August 2020

COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures have affected working hours and household income, with an unequal effect on women and men. The collective model of the household has hitherto ignored distinctions between private versus joint activities by parents in household time allocation. This column examines the evolving costs and benefits of togetherness, using Dutch data for 2009–2012, and speculates on how lockdown policies may affect togetherness and household welfare. Joint leisure and childcare generate a loss of flexibility in the labour market, and joint childcare prevents specialisation, generating tension between parental childcare quality and quantity.

Richard V. Burkhauser, Nicolas Hérault, Stephen P. Jenkins, Roger Wilkins, 21 July 2020

The share of total income held by those at the very top of the income distribution has been much analysed, but despite a rising share of women in the top 1% of the income distribution, less is known about the gender divide at the top. This column analyses gender differences among the UK top 1% between 1999 and 2015. The rising share of women in the top 1% is largely accounted for by women having increased the time they spend in full-time education by more than men did.

Cevat Giray Aksoy, Berkay Ozcan, Julia Philipp, 16 July 2020

At a moment when policymakers are putting increased efforts into tackling gender gaps in the labour market, it is worth asking whether robotization could worsen pay disparities between men and women. Using new evidence from 20 European countries, this column finds that men at medium- and high-skill occupations disproportionately benefit from robotisation, especially in countries where gender inequality was already severe. The authors recommend that governments pay attention to automation’s distributional issues, and increase their efforts to equip women and men equally with the skills most relevant for future employability. 

Supriya Garikipati, Uma Kambhampati, 21 June 2020

The effectiveness of female leaders in handling the COVID crisis has received a lot of media attention. This column examines whether the gender of the national leader truly makes a significant difference to the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the first quarter of the pandemic, with differences in lockdown timing examined as a plausible explanation for these patterns. The findings show that COVID outcomes are systematically better in countries led by women. Insights from behavioural studies and leadership literature are used to speculate on the sources of these differences, as well as on their implications. 

Stefania Fabrizio, Vivian Malta, Marina M. Tavares, 20 June 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is depressing growth globally, and lockdown measures are causing widespread job losses. This column illustrates that women are amongst the worst affected. Women are vulnerable not only because of their jobs, but also because of gender inequalities within housework division, education, and health. There is an urgent need to support women, repair gender disparities aggravated by crisis, and to reduce women’s vulnerability going forward. Gender-responsive fiscal measures are viable tools that work in the interests of women, as well as supporting economic growth and reducing poverty and inequality.

Daniela Del Boca, Noemi Oggero, Paola Profeta, Mariacristina Rossi, 19 June 2020

The social distancing measures adopted to slow the spread of COVID-19 have placed a particular burden on families. Using survey data collected in April 2020 from a representative sample of Italian women, this column asks how working from home – combined with school closures – has affected the working arrangements, housework, and childcare provisions of couples in which both partners are employed. Most of the additional responsibilities have fallen to women, though childcare activities are shared more equally than housework.

Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, Moritz Kuhn, Michèle Tertilt, 30 May 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has hit women’s employment particularly hard, partly because the worst-hit sectors have high female employment shares, but also because schools and daycare closures have forced more mothers to leave their jobs. This column looks at Germany, where 26% of the workforce has children aged 14 or younger, and quantifies the macroeconomic importance of working parents. If schools and daycare centres remain closed as the economy slowly reopens, 11% of workers and 8% of all working hours will be lost to the labour market. Policies to restart the economy must accommodate the concerns of these families.

Jean Benoit Eymeoud, Paul Vertier, 22 May 2020

While decades of research have investigated the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women in politics, uncovering discriminatory behaviours of voters remains a difficult task. This column examines the voting outcomes of French departmental elections in 2015, which required candidates to run in mixed-gender pairs, and isolates discriminatory behaviour of right-wing voters. Right-wing parties lost votes when the woman’s name appeared first on the ballot. However, the discriminatory effect disappears where information about the candidates is available on the ballot.

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