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Why Do so many Women End up in Bad Jobs?: A Cross-country Assessment


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  • Johannes P. Jütting
  • Angela Luci
  • Christian Morrison


There is an increasing concern in the development community about the increase in the ‘feminisation of bad jobs’ of many developing countries. Indeed, recent analysis shows a growing proportion of women are in jobs with poor working conditions and low pay. But what is driving this phenomenon? This paper addresses this issue by looking at the role of social institutions, i.e. traditions, social norms and informal laws, in shaping labour market outcomes. By applying the newly established Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) of the OECD on 44 developing countries, the paper finds that social institutions influence to a great extent activity patterns and job quality for women. Our results suggest that addressing discriminating social institutions is crucial for advancing gender equality. On se préoccupe de plus en plus de la « féminisation » des mauvais emplois dans les pays en développement. Les analyses récentes montrent qu’il y a un pourcentage croissant de femmes qui ont des emplois caractérisés par de mauvaises conditions de travail et un faible salaire. Quelle est la cause de ce phénomène ? Ce document traite ce sujet en étudiant le rôle des institutions sociales, c’est-à-dire des traditions, des normes sociales et des lois informelles, dans la détermination des résultats qu’obtiennent les femmes sur le marché du travail. En appliquant le nouvel indicateur de l’OCDE en usage SIGI (social institutions and gender index) à 44 pays en développement, nous trouvons que les institutions sociales influencent dans une large mesure les genres d’activité et la qualité des emplois pour les femmes. Nos résultats suggèrent qu’il est crucial de traiter le problème de la discrimination sociale envers les femmes pour améliorer leurs chances d’accès à un bon emploi dans les pays en développement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Development Centre Working Papers with number 287.

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Date of creation: 03 Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:devaaa:287-en

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Keywords: labour market; social institutions; SIGI; gender inequality; job quality; agriculture; marché du travail; agriculture; qualité de l’emploi; SIGI; institutions sociales; égalité homme-femme;

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Cited by:
  1. Niklas Potrafke & Heinrich Ursprung, 2011. "Globalization and Gender Equality in Developing Countries," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2011-33, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  2. Potrafke, Niklas & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2012. "Globalization and gender equality in the course of development," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 19305, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Branisa, Boris & Klasen, Stephan & Ziegler, Maria, 2010. "Why we should all care about social institutions related to gender inequality," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 50, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  4. Nuno Crespo & Nádia Simões & José Castro Pinto, 2013. "Determinant factors of job quality in Europe," Working Papers Series 2 13-01, ISCTE-IUL, Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL).
  5. Konte M., 2014. "Gender difference in support for democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Do social institutions matter?," MERIT Working Papers 009, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).


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