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A Key Global Challenge: Reducing Losses due to Gender Inequality

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  • Joyce P. Jacobsen

    () (Department of Economics, Wesleyan University)

Abstract

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
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    File URL: http://repec.wesleyan.edu/pdf/jjacobsen/2011006_jacobsen.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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.
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