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Are UNDP Indices Appropriate to Capture Gender Inequalities in Europe?

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  • Iñaki Permanyer

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    Abstract

    This study critically investigates the suitability of United Nations’ composite indices and other related measures—among which the Gender Inequality Index just released in 2010—to capture gender inequalities in the context of “highly developed” countries, focusing on the case of Europe. Our results indicate that many of the gender gaps in health and education variables have either vanished or even reversed, thus questioning their appropriateness to capture women’s disadvantage in Europe and inviting to construct region-specific measures. Alternatively, parliamentary representation and labor force participation are variables with large gender gaps that highlight important dimensions where women disadvantage prevails. Different cross-section and cross-time associations between economic growth and gender equality are generally not statistically significant—or at most weakly correlated—at European level. This is basically due to the fact that the gender gaps included in UNDP gender-related indices reached their normatively desirable values long ago, therefore leaving no room for further improvement. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 3 (February)
    Pages: 927-950

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:110:y:2013:i:3:p:927-950

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    Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/11135

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    Keywords: Gender inequality; United Nations Development Program; Indices; Europe;

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    1. Seguino, Stephanie, 2000. "Gender Inequality and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 1211-1230, July.
    2. Michela Nardo & Michaela Saisana & Andrea Saltelli & Stefano Tarantola & Anders Hoffman & Enrico Giovannini, 2005. "Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators: Methodology and User Guide," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2005/3, OECD Publishing.
    3. Kalpana Bardhan & Stephan Klasen, 1998. "UNDP's Gender-Related Indices: A Critical Review," Human Development Occasional Papers (1992-2007) HDOCPA-1998-03, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
    4. Stephan Klasen & Dana Schuler, 2011. "Reforming the Gender-Related Development Index and the Gender Empowerment Measure: Implementing Some Specific Proposals," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 1-30.
    5. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
    6. Nancy Folbre, 2006. "Measuring Care: Gender, Empowerment, and the Care Economy," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 183-199.
    7. Suman Seth, 2013. "A class of distribution and association sensitive multidimensional welfare indices," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 133-162, June.
    8. Lourdes Beneria, 2008. "The crisis of care, international migration, and public policy," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 1-21.
    9. A. Dijkstra, 2002. "Revisiting UNDP's GDI and GEM: Towards an Alternative," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 301-338, March.
    10. Johannes Jutting & Christian Morrisson & Jeff Dayton-Johnson & Denis Drechsler, 2008. "Measuring Gender (In)Equality: The OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 65-86.
    11. Ines Smyth, 1996. "Gender analysis of family planning: Beyond the feminist vs. population control debate," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 63-86.
    12. Easterly, William, 1999. " Life during Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 239-76, September.
    13. Valeria Esquivel & Debbie Budlender & Nancy Folbre & Indira Hirway, 2008. "Explorations: Time-use surveys in the south," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(3), pages 107-152.
    14. Stephan Klasen, 2006. "UNDP's Gender-related Measures: Some Conceptual Problems and Possible Solutions," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 243-274.
    15. Iñaki Permanyer, 2010. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Gender Inequality: Continuing the Debate," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 181-198, January.
    16. Inaki Permanyer, 2008. "On the Measurement of Gender Equality and Gender-related Development Levels," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 87-108.
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