Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, Jakob Egholt Søgaard, 12 July 2018

Despite considerable convergence over time, substantial gender inequality persists in all countries. Using Danish data, this column argues that this gap persists because the effects of having children on the careers of women relative to men are large and have not fallen over time. Additional findings suggest this effect may be related to inherited gender identity norms.

Yoosik Youm, Kazuo Yamaguchi, 11 December 2016

Japan and South Korea are distinctive among developed countries for their gender inequality in managerial positions. This column looks at the ‘glass ceiling’ in the two countries. After controlling for age, education, and employment duration, between 70% and 80% of the gender disparity is unexplained in both countries, with women appearing to face greater inequality as they move up to more senior managerial positions.

Victor Gay, Daniel Hicks, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 10 September 2016

Evidence suggests that many forms of gender inequality are higher in countries where the language distinguishes gender. But these patterns could arise spuriously, as languages and other cultural institutions have co-evolved throughout history. This column uses an epidemiological approach to isolate language from other cultural forces and provide direct evidence on whether language matters. The findings suggest how gender roles have been shaped, how they are perpetuated, and, ultimately, how they can be changed.

Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, 05 May 2015

Indian children are more likely to be malnourished than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite higher standards of living. This column uses data on child height – an anthropometric measure of net nutrition – from Africa and India to explore how parental gender preferences affect the likelihood of children being malnourished. Indian firstborn sons are found to have a height advantage over African firstborn sons, and the height disadvantage appears first in second-born children, increasing for subsequent births. This suggests that a preference for a healthy male heir influences fertility decisions and how parents allocate resources between their children.

Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano, Nathan Nunn, 02 July 2011

Gender inequality is an old story. This column presents new evidence to suggest it may be as old as the horse and plough. It says there is a robust negative relationship between historical plough-use and unequal gender roles today. Traditional plough-use is positively correlated with attitudes reflecting gender inequality and negatively correlated with female labour force participation, female firm ownership, and female participation in politics.

Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano, Nathan Nunn, 06 June 2011

Why do levels of female participation in the labour force vary so extremely around the world? The authors of CEPR DP8418 test the hypothesis that cultural notions of 'a woman's place' originated with agricultural practices. They find evidence that the division of labour associated with plough agriculture contributed to development of norms that confined women to the home. These norms appear to persist through generations.

Klaus Deininger, Aparajita Goyal, Hari Nagarajan, 03 December 2010

Women in many countries face legal barriers preventing them from inheriting property. This column argues that this is a starting place for broader gender inequality and that stronger inheritance rights for women are likely to be an effective mechanism for improving their access to physical and human capital.

Ernesto Aguayo-Téllez, Jim Airola, Chinhui Juhn, 24 August 2010

Promoting gender equality is a Millennium Development Goal. This column explores the effects of trade liberalisation in Mexico during the 1990s on the country’s gender gap. It finds that trade benefitted sectors of the economy that employ more women, such as textiles and clothing, thereby helping to raise women’s earnings and relative social status.

José Tavares , Tiago Cavalcanti, 16 October 2007

Gender discrimination is economically inefficient since it prevents equalisation of marginal products. Recent simulations based on calibrated macro models indicate that the economic loss is large. In one thought experiment, the research suggests that a very large fraction of the income differences between many nations and the US is due to gender inequality.

José Tavares , Tiago Cavalcanti, 01 October 2007

The authors of CEPR DP6477 believe that it is important to provide a model-based macroeconomic estimate for the cost of wage discrimination to aggregate output. They find that the costs are indeed quite substantial which should be a certain concern in any macroeconomic policy aimed at increasing output per capita in the long-run.


CEPR Policy Research