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The gender unemployment gap

  • Stefania Albanesi
  • Aysegül Sahin

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 rates always exceed 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 (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 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.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 613.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:613
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  1. Galor, Oded & Weil, David, 1995. "The Gender Gap, Fertility and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1157, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1.
  3. Ghazala Azmat & Maia Güell & Alan Manning, 2006. "Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 1-38, January.
  4. Royalty, Anne Beeson, 1998. "Job-to-Job and Job-to-Nonemployment Turnover by Gender and Education Level," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 392-443, April.
  5. Pietro Garibaldi & Etienne Wasmer, 2005. "Equilibrium Search Unemployment, Endogenous Participation and Labor Market Flows," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8921, Sciences Po.
  6. Alan B. Krueger & Andreas Mueller, 2011. "Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(1 (Spring), pages 1-81.
  7. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Education and Unemployment of Women," NBER Working Papers 3837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Krusell, Per & Mukoyama, Toshihiko & Rogerson, Richard & Sahin, Aysegul, 2009. "A Three State Model of Worker Flows in General Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 7425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Maria J. Prados & Stefania Albanesi, 2011. "Inequality and Household Labor Supply," 2011 Meeting Papers 657, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Smith, James P & Ward, Michael, 1989. "Women in the Labor Market and in the Family," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 9-23, Winter.
  11. 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.
  12. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Reporting Errors and Labor Market Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1319-38, November.
  13. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise In The Disability Rolls And The Decline In Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-205, February.
  14. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Education and Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 3838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
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