nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2018‒07‒09
eight papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. The Gender Gap in Wage Expectations: Do Young Women Trade off Higher Wages for Lower Wage Risk? By Vaishali Zambre
  2. Women across Subfields in Economics: Relative Performance and Beliefs By P. Beneito; J. E. Boscá; J. Ferri; M. García
  3. Do Electoral Rules Matter for Female Representation? By Paola Profeta; Eleanor Woodhouse
  4. Working Moms, Childlessness, and Female Identity By Andreas Steinhauer
  5. The gendered effects of air pollution on labour supply By Montt, Guillermo E.
  6. Household Savings and Marriage Payments: Evidence from Dowry in India By S Anukriti; Sungoh Kwon; Nishith Prakash
  7. Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make difference? By Mavisakalyan, Astghik; Tarverdi, Yashar
  8. Understanding the gender wage gap differential between public and private sector in Italy: A quantile approach for panel data By Carolina Castagnetti; Maria Letizia Giorgetti

  1. By: Vaishali Zambre
    Abstract: Several studies show that young women start with lower wage expectations than men, even before entering the labor market and that this partly translates into the actual gender wage gap through effects on educational choice and the formation of reservation wages. Building on the theoretical reasoning of compensating differentials proposing that the labor market compensates higher wage risk with higher wages, this study investigates whether the gender gap in wage expectations can be explained by individuals anticipating this form of risk compensation. Relying on a unique survey on German high school graduates in which we elicited information on the entire distribution of expected wages, this study documents that already at this early stage, female students expect to earn around 16% less than their male counterparts. At the same time, they expect lower wage risk as measured by the individual-specific dispersion in wage expectations. I decompose the gender gap into components attributable to socio-demographic factors, academic performance and skills, intended college major choice, career motives, personality traits, economic preferences, measures for students’ confidence and expected wage risk. The results indicate that anticipated compensation for wage risk plays a major role in explaining the gender gap in wage expectations suggesting that females have lower wage expectations because they are willing to trade off higher wages for lower wage risk. The results of this study shed light on why young women make different choices regarding education and careers, thereby enhancing our understanding of the observed gender wage gap.
    Keywords: Wage expectations, gender gap, wage risk, risk compensation
    JEL: I28 J18 D04
    Date: 2018
  2. By: P. Beneito; J. E. Boscá; J. Ferri; M. García
    Abstract: The relative scarcity of female students enrolling in economics has become entrenched over the last decade. We provide evidence of gender differences in performance and in preferences across subfields of the discipline and explore students’ beliefs about the profession and their opinions on different subjects. The areas where women stand out relative to men are those that seem to be least well known to our students. We work on three fronts. First, using web scraping and machine learning techniques, we document the relative presence of women across subfields in recent AEA annual meetings. Macroeconomics and finance register the greatest scarcity of women. Second, using administrative records for economics students in a large public university in Spain from 2010 to 2014, we find that women outperform men in microeconomics, while men outperform women in macroeconomics, more evidently in the upper tail of the grades distribution. Finally, data gathered through a self-statement survey given to economics majors reveal that (i) they hold a macroeconomics-biased view of the economics profession; (ii) they exhibit gender differences in their perceptions of the interest and difficulty inherent in different subfields (macro vs. microeconomics); and (iii) their interests and performance are influenced differently by their male and female peers in macro and microeconomics subjects. Taken together, these three pieces of evidence provide a plausible explanation as to why women are relatively less attracted than men to economics, and suggest lines of action to redress the imbalance
    Date: 2018–06
  3. By: Paola Profeta; Eleanor Woodhouse
    Abstract: How do electoral rules affect the representation of women? We collect panel data on the universe of Italian politicians from all levels of government over the period 1987-2013 and obtain a complete picture of the career paths of male and female politicians across the whole arc of their careers in public office. We use our unique dataset to analyse the effects on female political representation of an Italian reform which, in 2005, changed the electoral rule for national elections from (mostly) majoritarian to proportional, but did not affect sub-national level elections. We find that proportional electoral rules favour the election of women. We propose a new channel through which this result is obtained, related to the different nature of political competition in the two electoral systems: under proportional rules, parties place women less frequently in competitive seats. This is consistent with the fact that proportional systems value gender diversity more than majoritarian ones, while majoritarian systems rely on head-to-head electoral races, which are not gender neutral. We also find that electoral rules have weaker effects on female representation in geographical areas where traditional gender roles are dominant.
    Keywords: electoral systems, majoritarian, proportional, difference-in-differences
    JEL: H70
    Date: 2018
  4. By: Andreas Steinhauer (University of Edinburgh)
    Abstract: In this paper I provide empirical evidence that the strength of beliefs regarding the harm children suffer when their mothers work plays an important role in explaining gender gaps in labor market outcomes and fertility trends. I exploit a unique setting in Switzerland and compare outcomes of one cohort of Swiss women born in the 1950s either into the French or German ethno-linguistic group. This allows me to compare outcomes of women exposed to different norms regarding working mothers while holding constant typical confounding factors such as composition, labor market opportunities, and work-family policies. Consistent with the strong belief that children suffer with working mothers in the German region, I find that German-born women are 15-25% less likely to work as mothers and 20-20% more likely to remain childless compared to their French-born peers. Only the extensive margins show marked differences and especially among the highly educated. I argue that an identity framework along the lines of Akerlof and Kranton (2000) can rationalize these patterns in a tractable way.
    Keywords: famale employment; childlessness; famale identity
    Date: 2018–05
  5. By: Montt, Guillermo E.
    Abstract: Air pollution affects workers ability to work by damaging their own health, but also by damaging the health of their dependents. This paper draws on 20 years of air pollution and employment data from Santiago, Chile, a highly polluted metropolis, particularly in fall and winter months. The paper finds that though air pollution does not reduce overall hours worked, it does so for women and particularly for women with children. A week with pollution at 100 µg/m3, common for Santiago, doubles the gender difference in working hours. It is hypothesised that children, unable to go to school, must stay home and cared for. Findings do not hold for elderly care, probably reflecting the fact that both sick and healthy dependent elderly are cared for at home and their main family caregiver is generally out of the labour force to begin with. These findings suggest that air pollution may contribute to gender inequality through the gendered-biased distribution of care responsibilities. Pollution brings to evidence gender inequalities in care and, given the gendered nature of care and the geographic distribution of pollution, contributes to enhance gender and geographic labour market inequalities. Environmental policy is agender equality policy as well.
    Date: 2018
  6. By: S Anukriti (Boston College); Sungoh Kwon (University of Connecticut); Nishith Prakash (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: This paper examines how traditional marriage market institutions a˙ect households’ financial decisions. We study how bride-to-groom marriage payments, i.e., dowries, influence saving behavior in rural India. Exploiting variation in firstborn gender and heterogeneity in dowry amounts across marriage markets, we find that the prospect of paying higher dowry increases household savings, which are primarily financed through increased paternal labor supply. This is the first paper that highlights this alternative motive for savings in dowry-paying societies. However, we find no impacts of dowry expectations on son-preferring fertility behaviors and investments in girls.
    Keywords: Household Savings, Dowry, Marriage Payments, India, Labor Supply, Fertility, Sex Ratio, Child Investments
    JEL: J1 D14 O15
    Date: 2018–04
  7. By: Mavisakalyan, Astghik; Tarverdi, Yashar
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether female political representation in national parliaments influences climate change policy outcomes. Based on data from a large sample of countries, we demonstrate that female representation leads countries to adopt more stringent climate change policies. We exploit a combination of full and partial identification approaches to suggest that this relationship is likely to be causal. Moreover, we show that through its effect on the stringency of climate change policies, the representation of females in parliament results in lower carbon dioxide emissions. Female political representation may be an underutilized tool for addressing climate change.
    Keywords: gender,political representation,climate change,environmental policy
    JEL: D70 J16 Q54 Q58
    Date: 2018
  8. By: Carolina Castagnetti (Department of Economics and Management, University of Pavia); Maria Letizia Giorgetti (Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Milano)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the gender wage gaps across the wage distribution in both the private and public sectors in Italy for the years 2005-2010. We use quantile regression methods to estimate and decompose the gender wage gap at different points of the wage distribution. We find in both sectors a consistent level of gender wage gap (lower in the public sector) and an increasing path along the wage distribution. Counterfactual decomposition analysis supports the idea of a sticky floor mechanism in action in the private sector and of a glass ceiling in the public sector. In addition to standard decomposition techniques we propose a two step procedure that relies on a novel approach to estimating fixed effects quantile regressions. Its main advantage is that it allows the estimation of the marginal effect of the employment sector on wages at different points of the distribution, while accounting for both observable and time-invariant unobservable factors. When we control for employees’ observed and unobservable individual characteristics, the main finding is that the gender wage gap substantially decreases in both sectors. A second evidence is that the sticky floor effect in the private sector vanishes, while the glass ceiling effect in the public sector remains. The evidence from the longitudinal analysis amplifies the differences of the wage-setting mechanisms in the two sectors.
    Keywords: Gender wage gap, quantile regression for panel, public-private wage differential
    JEL: J3 J45
    Date: 2018–06

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