We study whether higher gender equality facilitates economic growth by enabling better allocation of a valuable resource: female labor. By allocating female labor to its more productive use, we hypothesize that reducing gender inequality should disproportionately benefit industries with typically higher female share in their employment relative to other industries. Specifically, we exploit within-country variation across industries to test whether those that typically employ more women grow relatively faster in countries with ex-ante lower gender inequality. The test allows us to identify the causal effect of gender inequality on industry growth in value-added and labor productivity. Our findings show that gender inequality affects real economic outcomes.
This paper presents novel empirical evidence on the labor market integration of migrants across Europe. It investigates how successfully migrants integrate in 13 European countries by applying a unified framework to analyze a rich micro dataset with over ten million individuals surveyed between 1998 and 2016. Focusing on employment outcomes, we document substantial heterogeneity in the patterns of labor market integration across host countries and by migrant gender and origin. Our results also point to the importance of cohorts and network effects, initial labor market conditions, and the differential impact of education acquired domestically and abroad in determining migrants’ subsequent employment prospects. The analysis has implications for the design of effective integration policies.
This paper discusses Finland’s public sector balance sheet. The public sector balance sheet approach expands analysis of public finances beyond government debt to also include government assets, public corporations, and pension liabilities. For Finland, it shows that static public sector net worth is negative at some 160 percent of GDP. This implies that Finland’s future fiscal balances and policies will have to be sufficiently strong to compensate, and also to address future spending pressures from rising health and long-term care. The intertemporal balance sheet shows that Finland’s current medium-term fiscal framework meets this criterion—but only if health and social services reform achieves the targeted savings in public spending during the 2020s. In light of numerous risks it would be prudent to use the present economic upswing to make early headway in rebuilding buffers. Finland has a track record of prudent fiscal policy. During good economic times, the authorities have run sizable fiscal surpluses.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Finland’s economic growth has picked up considerably, broadening to exports and equipment investment, and the current account is back to surplus. The economic recovery is expected to remain strong in the near term, but potential growth is constrained by labor market rigidities and aging. The IMF projects growth of 2.8 percent in 2017 and 2.3 percent in 2018. Better-than-expected fiscal outcomes in 2016 are projected to continue in 2017, but the public finances face long-term challenges from a declining working age population and escalating age-related spending. Avoiding a procyclical fiscal stance would help rebuild buffers over the medium term.
Bengt Petersson, Rodrigo Mariscal, and Kotaro Ishi
How important are female workers for economic growth? This paper presents empirical evidence that an increase in female labor force participation is positively associated with labor productivity growth. Using panel data for 10 Canadian provinces over 1990–2015, we found that a 1 percentage point increase in the labor force participation among women with high educational attainment would raise Canada’s overall labor productivity growth by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage point a year. This suggests that if the current gap of 7 percentage points between male and female labor force participation with high educational attainment were eliminated, the level of real GDP could be about 4 percent higher today. The government has appropriately stepped up its efforts to improve gender equality, as part of its growth strategy. In particular, the government’s plan to expand access to affordable child care is a positive step. However, we argue that to maximize the policy outcome given a budget constraint, provision of subsidized child care—including publicly funded child care spaces—should be better targeted to working parents.
Japan's potential growth rate is steadily falling with the aging of its population. This paper explores the extent to which raising female labor participation can help slow this trend. Using a cross-country database we find that smaller families, higher female education, and lower marriage rates are associated with much of the rise in women's aggregate participation rates within countries over time, but that policies are likely increasingly important for explaining differences across countries. Raising female participation could provide an important boost to growth, but women face two hurdles in participating in the workforce in Japan. First, few working women start out in career-track positions, and second, many women drop out of the workforce following childbirth. To increase women’s attachment to work Japan should consider policies to reduce the gender gap in career positions and to provide better support for working mothers.
Many studies have highlighted how failures of public corporations (otherwise known as state-owned enterprises) can result in huge economic and fiscal costs. To contain the risks associated with these costs, an effective regime for the financial supervision and oversight of public corporations should be put in place. This note discusses the legal, institutional, and procedural arrangements that governments need to oversee the financial operations of their public corporations, ensure accountability for their performance, and manage the fiscal risks they present. In particular, it recommends that governments should focus their surveillance on public corporations that are large in relation to the economy, create fiscal risks, are not profitable, are unstable financially, or are heavily dependent on government subsidies or guarantees.