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Latin American women's earnings and participation in the labor force

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  • Psacharopoulos, George
  • Tzannatos, Zafiris

Abstract

Using historical census data and the latest household surveys, the authors investigate changes in female employment in Latin America, the factors that determine women's participation in the labor force, and the reasons for the gap between men's and women's earnings. The authors find, to their surprise, that despite worsened economic conditions since the 1970s, women's participation in the labor force has increased significantly since the 1950s. One explanation may be that women benefitted disproportionately from expansion of the public sector. The factors that have most affected women's decisions to join the work force have been education and family conditions. Creating opportunities for women's education and employment when such factors are absent will improve efficiency and reduce poverty. Other policy based factors that can affect women's participation in the work force include the availability of family planning services and child-care facilities. Women's participation in the labor force can also be affected by improving family law and tax regulations that create hardships for women, especially in the Caribbean. In all of the countries studied, women are rewarded less than men and gender differences in human capital endowments account for an average of about a third of the observed difference in earnings - prima facie evidence of discrimination. On the other hand, women appear to be rewarded more proportionate to their human capital endowments than men are.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 856.

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Date of creation: 29 Feb 1992
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:856

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Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Primary Education; Population&Development; Health Economics&Finance; Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Suzanne Duryea & Sebastián Galiani & Claudia Piras & Hugo R. Ñopo, 2007. "The Educational Gender Gap in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications 6721, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Juan Pablo Atal & Hugo Nopo & Natalia Winder, 2009. "New Century, Old Disparities: Gender and Ethnic Wage Gaps in Latin America," Research Department Publications, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department 4640, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  3. Cecilia Garavito , 1995. "Oferta familiar de trabajo en lima metropolitana: 1989-1992," Documentos de Trabajo, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú 1995-121, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
  4. Cunningham, Wendy & Jacobsen, Joyce P., 2008. "Earnings inequality within and across gender, racial, and ethnic groups in four Latin American Countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 4591, The World Bank.
  5. World Bank, 2012. "A Gender (R)evolution in the Making? Expanding Women's Economic Opportunities in Central America : A Decade in Review," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12468, The World Bank.

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