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The Gender Unemployment Gap


  • Albanesi, Stefania
  • Sahin, Aysegul


The unemployment gender gap, defined as the difference between female and male unemployment rates, was positive until 1980. This gap virtually disappeared after 1980, except during recessions when men's unemployment rate always exceeds women's. We study the evolution of these gender differences in unemployment from a long-run perspective and over the business cycle. Using a calibrated three-state search model of the labor market, we show that the rise in female labor force attachment and the decline in male attachment can mostly account for the closing of the gender unemployment gap. Evidence from nineteen OECD countries also supports the notion that convergence in attachment is associated with a decline in the gender unemployment gap. At the cyclical frequency, we find that gender differences in industry composition are important in recessions, especially the most recent, but they do not explain gender differences in employment growth during recoveries.

Suggested Citation

  • Albanesi, Stefania & Sahin, Aysegul, 2013. "The Gender Unemployment Gap," CEPR Discussion Papers 9448, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9448

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Razzu, Giovanni & Singleton, Carl, 2016. "Gender and the business cycle: An analysis of labour markets in the US and UK," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 131-146.
    3. Giovanni Razzu & Carl Singleton, 2014. "Gender and the Business Cycle: A Stocks and Flows Analysis of US and UK Labour Market States," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2014-10, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    4. Franciscos Koutentakis, 2015. "Gender Unemployment Dynamics: Evidence from Ten Advanced Economies," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 29(1), pages 15-31, March.
    5. Giovanni Razzu & Carl Singleton, 2016. "Segregation and Gender Gaps through the UK’s Great Recession," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2015-02, Henley Business School, Reading University.

    More about this item


    gender differences in unemployment; labor force participation; labor market flows;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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