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Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries

  • Ghazala Azmat
  • Maia Güell
  • Alan Manning

There is an enormous literature on gender gaps in pay and labour market participation but virtually noliterature on gender gaps in unemployment rates. Although there are some countries in which there isessentially no gender gap in unemployment, there are others in which the female unemployment rate issubstantially above the male. Although it is easy to give plausible reasons for why more women than menmay decide not to want work, it is not so obvious why, once they have decided they want a job, women insome countries are less likely to be in employment than men. This is the subject of this paper. We showthat, in countries where there is a large gender gap in unemployment rates, there is a gender gap in bothflows from employment into unemployment and from unemployment into employment. We investigatedifferent hypotheses about the sources of these gaps. Most hypotheses find little support in the data and thegender gap in unemployment rates (like the gender gap in pay) remains largely unexplained. But it doesseem to correlate with attitudes on whether men are more deserving of work than women so thatdiscrimination against women may explain part of the gender gap in unemployment rates in theMediterranean countries.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0607.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0607
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. John C. Ham & Jan Svejnar & Katherine Terrell, 1999. "Women's unemployment during transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 47-78, March.
  2. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
  3. Algan, Yann & Cahuc, Pierre, 2004. "Job Protection: The Macho Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 1192, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Christopher J. Flinn & James J. Heckman, 1982. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," NBER Working Papers 0979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," NBER Working Papers 8200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1990. "Ranking, Unemployment Duration, and Wages," NBER Working Papers 3387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
  8. Katharine G. Abraham & Robert Shimer, 2001. "Changes in Unemployment Duration and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 8513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences Of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons From Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317, February.
  10. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, . "The Measurement Of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 09, McMaster University.
  11. Nicoletti, Cheti & Peracchi, Franco, 2002. "A cross-country comparison of survey nonparticipation in the ECHP -ISER working paper-," ISER Working Paper Series 2002-32, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  12. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
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