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Gender Disparities in Employment and Earnings in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Swaziland


  • Brixiova, Zuzana

    () (University of Cape Town)

  • Kangoye, Thierry

    () (African Development Bank)


In this paper we provide first systematic evidence on the gender disparities in the labor market in Swaziland, drawing on the country's first two (2007 and 2010) Labor Force Surveys. We find that even though the global financial crisis had a less severe effect on the labor market outcomes of women than those of men, women continue to have lower employment and labor force participation rates. Utilizing the Heckman probit selection model shows that while women account for a disproportionate share of the self-employed, they are more often than men involved in low-productivity activities and rely less on formal finance. We conclude with policies that could help Swaziland – and other middle income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – narrow these disparities and embark on a more inclusive growth path.

Suggested Citation

  • Brixiova, Zuzana & Kangoye, Thierry, 2016. "Gender Disparities in Employment and Earnings in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Swaziland," IZA Discussion Papers 10455, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10455

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Esther Duflo, 2012. "Women Empowerment and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1051-1079, December.
    2. Cho, Yoonyoung & Newhouse, David, 2013. "How Did the Great Recession Affect Different Types of Workers? Evidence from 17 Middle-Income Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 31-50.
    3. Brixiova, Zuzana & Kangoye, Thierry, 2016. "Start-Up Capital and Women's Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Swaziland," IZA Discussion Papers 10279, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Aterido, Reyes & Beck, Thorsten & Iacovone, Leonardo, 2013. "Access to Finance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Is There a Gender Gap?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 102-120.
    5. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    6. Baliamoune-Lutz, Mina & Brixiova, Zuzana & Ndikumana, Leonce, 2011. "Credit Constraints and Productive Entrepreneurship in Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 6193, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Lee, Neil & Sameen, Hiba & Cowling, Marc, 2015. "Access to finance for innovative SMEs since the financial crisis," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 370-380.
    8. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Terrell, Katherine, 2008. "Does Gender Matter for Firm Performance? Evidence from Eastern Europe and Central Asia," IZA Discussion Papers 3758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    10. Gert Wehinger, 2014. "SMEs and the credit crunch: Current financing difficulties, policy measures and a review of literature," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2013(2), pages 115-148.
    11. Mina Baliamoune-Lutz & Zuzana Brixiov?? & L??once Ndikumana, 2011. "Credit Constraints & Productive Entrepreneurship in Africa," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1025, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    12. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    13. Elizabeth Asiedu & Isaac Kalonda-Kanyama & Leonce Ndikumana & Akwasi Nti-Addae, 2013. "Access to Credit by Firms in Sub-Saharan Africa: How Relevant Is Gender?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 293-297, May.
    14. Dalia S Hakura & Mumtaz Hussain & Monique Newiak & Vimal V Thakoor & Fan Yang, 2016. "Inequality, Gender Gaps and Economic Growth; Comparative Evidence for Sub-Saharan Africa," IMF Working Papers 16/111, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item


    gender gap in the labor market; skills; credit; multivariate analysis; policies;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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