IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Key Global Challenge: Reducing Losses due to Gender Inequality


  • Joyce P. Jacobsen

    () (Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)


This assessment considers the worldwide costs from 1900 to 2050 of continued gender inequality. The main cost is considered to be the inefficient underutilization of women in production. This can be measured in terms of their correspondingly lower earnings and expressed as a percentage of actual GDP per annum. This loss is estimated to lie in the range of 4 percent to 37 percent of world GDP per annum over this time period, depending on the year and the assumptions made. The losses due to gender inequality are declining as a percentage of GDP over this time period, but the absolute sizes of the losses are still quite substantial, since world GDP is growing so substantially over this period. This can be seen in part by comparing the losses in terms of 1900 GDP: In 2050, which has the lowest potential losses (4 percent) as a percentage of GDP based on the lower loss projections, the loss attributable to gender inequality comprises 328 to 1019 percent of total world GDP as of 1900, which is a range of $6 to $20 trillion in 1900 dollars, well over what world output was worth in 1900.

Suggested Citation

  • Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2011. "A Key Global Challenge: Reducing Losses due to Gender Inequality," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2011-006, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2011-006

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-1046, October.
    2. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    3. J. Steven Landefeld & Barbara M. Fraumeni & Cindy M. Vojtech, 2009. "Accounting For Household Production: A Prototype Satellite Account Using The American Time Use Survey," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 205-225, June.
    4. Peterman, Amber & Behrman, Julia & Quisumbing, Agnes, 2010. "A review of empirical evidence on gender differences in nonland agricultural inputs, technology, and services in developing countries," IFPRI discussion papers 975, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Barnet Wagman & Nancy Folbre, 1996. "Household services and economic growth in the United States, 1870-1930," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 43-66.
    6. Stephan Klasen & Francesca Lamanna, 2009. "The Impact of Gender Inequality in Education and Employment on Economic Growth: New Evidence for a Panel of Countries," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 91-132.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wes:weswpa:2011-006. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Manolis Kaparakis). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.