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Gender Inequality as a Barrier to Economic Growth: a Review of the Theoretical Literature

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  • Manuel Santos Silva
  • Stephan Klasen

Abstract

In this article, we survey the theoretical literature investigating the role of gender inequality in economic development. The vast majority of theories reviewed suggest that gender inequality is a barrier to development, particularly over the long run. Among the many plausible mechanisms through which inequality between men and women affects the aggregate economy, the role of women for fertility decisions and human capital investments is particularly important. Yet, we believe the body of theories could be expanded in several directions.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Santos Silva & Stephan Klasen, 2018. "Gender Inequality as a Barrier to Economic Growth: a Review of the Theoretical Literature," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 252, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:252
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    3. Leonid V. Azarnert & Slava Yakubenko, 2021. "Effects of Emigration on Gender Norms in Countries of Origin," CESifo Working Paper Series 9450, CESifo.
    4. BILAN Yuriy & OMRAN Emad Attia Mohamed & BILAN Yuriy & OMRAN Emad Attia Mohamed, 2012. "Female Labour Force Participation and the Economic Development in Egypt," European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Bucharest Economic Academy, issue 01, March.
    5. Santos Silva, Manuel & Alexander, Amy C. & Klasen, Stephan & Welzel, Christian, 2023. "The roots of female emancipation: Initializing role of Cool Water," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 133-159.
    6. Dang, Hai-Anh H. & Hiraga, Masako & Viet Nguyen, Cuong, 2022. "Childcare and maternal employment: Evidence from Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 159(C).
    7. Diachkova, Anna V. & Kontoboitseva, Anna E., 2022. "Economic Benefits of gender equality: comparing EU and BRICS countries," Economic Consultant, Roman I. Ostapenko, vol. 37(1), pages 4-15.
    8. Karlsson, Tobias & Kok, Joris & Perrin, Faustine, 2021. "The Historical Gender Gap Index: A Longitudinal and Spatial Assessment of Sweden, 1870-1990," Lund Papers in Economic History 217, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    9. Islam, Asif M. & Amin, Mohammad, 2023. "The gender labor productivity gap across informal firms," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    10. Zuazu-Bermejo, Izaskun, 2024. "Reviewing feminist macroeconomics for the XXI century," ifso working paper series 30, University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute for Socioeconomics (ifso).
    11. BILAN Yuriy & OMRAN Emad Attia Mohamed, 2022. "Female Labour Force Participation and the Economic Development in Egypt," European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Bucharest Economic Academy, issue 01, March.
    12. Malghan, Deepak & Swaminathan, Hema, 2021. "Global trends in intra-household gender inequality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 515-546.
    13. Youssouf Merouani & Faustine Perrin, 2022. "Gender and the long-run development process. A survey of the literature [Rethinking age heaping: A cautionary tale from nineteenth-century Italy]," European Review of Economic History, European Historical Economics Society, vol. 26(4), pages 612-641.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender equality; Economic growth; Fertility; Human capital; Comparative development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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