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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. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper investigates the macroeconomic impact of existing gender gaps in Ethiopia and discusses the authorities’ policies in the areas of gender equality and women’s rights, with a focus on women’s economic engagement. Ethiopia has shown a firm political commitment to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights; however significant challenges around women’s economic participation remain. Whilst most people work in Ethiopia, women face many barriers to formal labor force participation, have lower levels of education than men—particularly at secondary and tertiary levels—and have significant wage gaps compared to men. The findings suggest that, eliminating gender gaps in both educational attainment and the rate of formal employment could increase output in Ethiopia over time by over 24 percent. Improved institutional capacity would lead to better integration of gender issues into the planning and implementation of government policies. Ethiopia has already embedded gender units within the structure of many of its ministries.
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
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses whether there is a more efficient way of taxing labor in Argentina that has a minimal cost in terms of foregone revenues. Social security contributions for dependent workers are generally high in Argentina, despite the plethora of different regimes and exceptions. A reform of labor taxation in Argentina would need to address these inefficiencies. Reducing the tax wedge would stimulate employment and formalization, especially if targeted to low-paid workers, as there is evidence that it’s their employment that mostly responds to tax incentives. Argentina’s tax and transfer system appears to be less progressive than the estimated optimal one. The simulations suggest that the proposed changes would have a positive impact on economic activity and formality, with a minor cost in terms of foregone revenues. Greater labor supply and wages in the formal sector push up revenue from labor taxation, compensating part of the direct cost of the reform.
Purva Khera
This paper examines the macroeconomic interaction between informality and gender inequality in the labor market. A dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is built to study the impact of gender-targeted policies on female labor force participation, female formal employment, gender wage gap, as well as on aggregate economic outcomes. The model is estimated using Bayesian techniques and Indian data. Although these policies are found to increase female labor force participation and output, lack of sufficient formal job creation due to labor market rigidities leads to an increase in unemployment and informality, and further widens gender gaps in formal employment and wages. Simultaneously implementing such policies with formal job creating policies helps remove these adverse impacts while also leading to significantly larger gains in output.
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.
Romina Kazandjian, Ms. Lisa L Kolovich, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Ms. Monique Newiak
We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for girls than for boys, harm diversification by constraining the potential pool of human capital available in an economy. Second, gender gaps in the labor market impede the development of new ideas by decreasing the efficiency of the labor force. Our empirical estimates support these hypotheses, providing evidence that gender-friendly policies could help countries diversify their economies.
Yuko Kinoshita and Fang Guo
Both Japan and Korea are trying to boost female labor force participation (FLFP) as they face the challenges of a rapidly aging population. Though FLFP has generally been on a rising trend, the female labor force in both countries is skewed towards non-regular employment despite women’s high education levels. This paper empirically examines what helps Japan and Korea to increase FLFP by type (i.e., regular vs. non-regular employment), using the SVAR model. In so doing, we compare these two Asian countries with two Nordic countries Norway and Finland. The main findings are: (i) child cash allowances tend to reduce the proportion of regular female employment in Japan and Korea, (ii) the persistent gender wage gap encourages more non-regular employment, (iii) a greater proportion of regular female employment is associated with higher fertility, and (iv) there is a need for more public spending on childcare for age 6-11 in Japan and Korea to help women continue to work.
Mr. John C Bluedorn, Francesca G Caselli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Mr. Ippei Shibata, and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.