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Gender Unemployment Gaps in the EU: Blame the Family

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  • Alena Bicakova

Abstract

We provide a parsimonious explanation for 80% of the extensive variation in gender unemployment gaps across the EU. We do so by dividing the EU countries into two groups and applying a single explanatory factor within each group. Specifically, we suggest that gender unemployment gaps arise through a mechanism that involves the effect of childbirth on women’s labor force participation. We account for most of the cross-country differences in the said gaps by the prevalence of gender discrimination within the group of countries where many women permanently leave the labor force after childbirth and by the length of statutory family leaves within the remaining group of EU countries. In addition, gender unemployment gaps among individuals with children younger than five result, to a great extent, from the drop in female labor force participation after childbirth, which implies a negative selection of women into the labor force at that stage of life.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp475.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp475

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Keywords: gender unemployment gap; family leave; gender discrimination;

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  1. Puhani, Patrick A. & Sonderhof, Katja, 2008. "The Effects of Maternity Leave Extension on Training for Young Women," IZA Discussion Papers 3820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Hunt, Jennifer, 1998. "The Transition in East Germany: When is a Ten Point Fall in the Gender Wage Gap Bad News?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1805, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alicia Adsera, 2005. "Vanishing Children: From High Unemployment to Low Fertility in Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 189-193, May.
  4. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2005. "Unequal pay or unequal employment?: a cross-country analysis of gender gaps," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3660, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Hugo Ñopo, 2008. "Matching as a Tool to Decompose Wage Gaps," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 290-299, May.
  6. Albrecht, J & Edin, P-A & Sundstrom, M & Vroman, S-B, 1996. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earning : A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Papers 1996-23, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  7. Harmgart, Heike & Jurajda, Stepan, 2004. "When do 'Female' Occupations Pay More?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4270, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Petrongolo, Barbara, 2004. "Gender Segregation in Employment Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 4303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. William A. Darity & Patrick L. Mason, 1998. "Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 63-90, Spring.
  10. Marcus Eliason & Donald Storrie, 2006. "Lasting or Latent Scars? Swedish Evidence on the Long-Term Effects of Job Displacement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 831-856, October.
  11. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
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