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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate Spain’s already large inclusion gap. Responding in the recovery with policies that support social objectives should be a key priority and calls for several structural changes. This paper summarizes some of the main drivers behind the social dispersion, which pre-dates the COVID-19 crisis, and policy options. The focus is on how to address the fragmented labor market, tackle pressures on rental-housing affordability, and lower the gender pay gap.1, 2
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, and Hiroaki Miyamoto
Would countercyclical fiscal policy during recessions improve or worsen the gender employment gap? We give an answer to this question by exploring the state-dependent impact of fiscal spending shocks on employment by gender in the G-7 countries. Using the local projection method, we find that, during recessions, a positive spending shock of 1 percent of GDP would, on average, lift female employment by 1 percent, while increasing male employment by 0.6 percent. Consequently such a shock would improve the female share of employment by 0.28 percentage point during recessions. Our findings are driven by disproportionate employment changes in female-friendly industries, occupations, and part-time jobs in response to fiscal spending shocks. The analysis suggests that fiscal stimulus, particularly during recessions, could achieve the twin objectives of supporting aggregate demand and improving gender gaps.
Lone Engbo Christiansen, Ms. Huidan Huidan Lin, Ms. Joana Pereira, Petia Topalova, and Rima Turk
With an aging population and declining productivity growth, Europe faces serious challenges to raising its output growth. Adding to these challenges are the various gender gaps in the labor market. Despite significant progress in recent decades, there are still fewer women than men participating in Europe’s labor market, and women are more likely to work part time. Furthermore, a smaller share of women reaches the top rungs of the corporate ladder. Could greater gender equality in the labor market help mitigate the slowdown in Europe’s growth potential? Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the drivers of female labor force participation in Europe as well as what effects greater gender diversity in senior corporate positions might have for Europe’s economic performance. Reexamining the factors driving women’s labor force participation is particularly important because in many European countries the process of closing the gender gap has stalled despite greater gender equality in human capital investment, declining birth rates, changing social norms, and equal legal access to employment opportunities. Investigating whether firm performance could be improved if women held a greater share of senior positions is also essential given that the empirical evidence from past research into this question has been inconclusive.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the efficiency of public spending on health and education in Hungary, with a view to identifying potential efficiency gains and areas for reforms so as to lock in such gains. The paper finds potentially large room for efficiency gains over the medium term, particularly in the health sector. A frontier analysis using data envelopment methodology, suggests that savings from efficiency gains in the health and education sectors could amount up to about 3 percentage points of GDP over the medium term, of which 90 percent could be achieved from efficiency gains in the health sector.