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The Spring-Summer 2019 issue of the IMF Research Perspectives explores how technology deals with old questions. Articles discuss the ways technological progress and the increased availability of data have helped in some areas, while presenting new challenges for analyzing various matters. The issue also includes an interview with Gita Gopinath, the new director of the IMF Research Department.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development discusses need of empowering women, which is critical for the world’s economy and people. Unequal or unfair treatment can marginalize women and hinder their participation as productive individuals contributing to society and the economy in invaluable ways. The rich tapestry of organizations and individuals who can make a difference to ensure women have equal opportunities; there is a crucial role for policymakers. They can use their positions to design policies that help women and girls’ access what they need for a fulfilling life—including education, health services, safe transportation, legal protection against harassment, finance, and flexible working arrangements. The IMF recommends these kinds of policy measures to its member countries—and works with many governments to examine how policies affect women. The IMF’s 189 member countries face many different challenges, but empowering women remains a common denominator and a global imperative for all those who care about fairness and diversity, but also productivity and growth of societies and economies that are more inclusive.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance and Development
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance and Development
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance and Development
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
Finance and Development
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Jorge Alvarez, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
While progress has been made in increasing female labor force participation (FLFP) in the last 20 years, large gaps remain. The latest Fund research shows that improving gender diversity can result in larger economic gains than previously thought. Indeed, gender diversity brings benefits all its own. Women bring new skills to the workplace. This may reflect social norms and their impact on upbringing and social interactions, or underlying differences in risk preference and response to incentives for example. As such, there is an economic benefit from diversity, that is from bringing women into the labor force, over and above the benefit resulting from more (male) workers. The study finds that male and female labor are imperfect substitutes in production, and therefore gender differences in the labor force matter. The results also imply that standard models, which ignore such differences, understate the favorable impact of gender inclusion on growth, and misattribute to technology a part of growth that is actually caused by women’s participation. The study further suggests that narrowing gender gaps benefits both men and women, because of a boost to male wages from higher FLFP. The paper also examines the role of women in the process of sectoral reallocation from traditional agriculture to services and the resulting effect on productivity and growth. Because FLFP is relatively high in services, sectoral reallocation along development paths serves to boost gender parity and productivity.
Purva Khera
Gender gaps in womens’ economic opportunities—labor market and entrepreneurship—have remained high in India. Lack of adequate collateral limits women entrepreneurs’ ability to access formal finance, leaving them to rely on informal sources, constraining their growth. A small-open economy DSGE model is built to investigate the long-run macroeconomic impacts from closing gender gaps in financial access. Results suggest that an increase in women entrepreneurs access to formal credit results in higher female entrepreneurship and employment, which boosts India’s output by 1.6 percent. However, regulations and gender-specific constraints in the labor market limit potential gains as females’ access to quality jobs in the formal sector remains restricted. The paper shows that the factors influencing the number of females are different from those influencing the share of females in formal economic activity. Combining gender-targeted financial inclusion policies with policies that lower constraints on formal sector employment could boost India’s output by 6.8 percent.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
"Reducing gender gaps can have important economic benefits. Gender gaps remain significant on a global scale, both with respect to opportunities and outcomes. For example, gender-based legal restrictions in many parts of the world, as well as barriers in access to education, healthcare, and financial services, prevent women from fully participating in the economy. In turn, labor force participation rates are lower among women than men. Gender equality can play an important role in promoting economic stability by boosting economic productivity and growth, enhancing economic resilience, and reducing income inequality. The Fund has begun operationalizing gender issues in its work. Staff has contributed to the economic literature through country-level and cross-country analytical studies, confirming the macro-criticality of gender issues in a broad set of circumstances. Gender issues are also increasingly becoming an integral part of capacity development though technical assistance and training. And in country work, two waves of gender pilots have been completed—encompassing both surveillance and Fund-supported programs and covering all regions of the world and all levels of income—and a third wave is under way. Coverage of gender issues in staff reports should be selective and calibrated to the degree of macroeconomic significance. All teams should consider whether gender issues are relevant, taking into account also the authorities’ priorities, but with no presumption that gender issues will be covered everywhere or every year and with in-depth coverage anticipated in only a limited number of cases any year. Staff should point to macroeconomic significance where it exists, with analysis focused on aspects with economic implications and specific policy advice limited to areas where there is Fund expertise. Where relevant, country teams should leverage external expertise. This note provides an overview of good practices and resources available to staff. The note is consistent with the 2015 Guidance Note for Surveillance Under Article IV Consultations and draws also on the 2013 Guidance Note on Jobs and Growth Issues in Surveillance and Program Work. It provides examples of good practice with respect to coverage of gender issues in country reports and lays out the resources available to country teams, both with respect to existing analytical work as well as the availability of data and tools."