Fact & Policy
The fast growth in RCTs, field and lab experiments open up several opportunities for assembling evidence on gender inequalities in labour markets based on quantitative individual data to complement existing evidence based on opinion surveys (e.g., World Values Survey) or macro aggregates (e.g., World Economic Forum indexes). Research under this theme includes: (i) Bayesian hierarchical analysis and other Meta analyses of experiments to assess gender differences in personality traits across cultures, (ii) long-run follow-up of “empowerment” interventions to leverage existing data and ask new questions, (iii) replications and assembly of survey data to study the same question across different contexts. Questions include but are not limited to: What do the data say about female labour force participation across and within developing countries? What is the level of unemployment and under employment? What is the share of casual jobs? How does labour supply vary with the level of income? What does history tell us about key factors that helped increase women’s participation in the labour market? What are the primary constraints that female entrepreneurs face, and are these different from the constraints faced by male entrepreneurs? To what extent do socio-emotional skills and preferences, like attitudes to risk, competition, negotiation, sensitiveness to social cues play a role?
Fertility & Labour markets
Labour markets and fertility choices are tightly linked as child bearing determines both human capital accumulation, labour force participation, and occupational choice. In most countries, women do the bulk of work inside the home, and this naturally affects their participation in paid employment and their occupational choice. To understand female labour market outcomes, it is therefore essential to understand the causes of this specialisation and how it is related to fertility. Evidence from high-income countries shows strong labour market penalties associated with child bearing. What are the penalties in LICs? How does childbearing and being the primary career affect labour force participation and occupational choice? How does it affect women’s ability to migrate to locations with higher wages?
Barriers to gender parity
The fact that women are primarily responsible for childcare and household chores can be due to intrinsic gender differences in talent for these tasks or to differences in external constraints. Research under this theme will tell between the two explanations and identify the relevant constraints, including laws, social norms, and discrimination in the labour market, as well as the possibility of violence increasing the costs of working outside the home, shifting from the informal to the formal sector or migrating to urban areas. What determines the adoption of equal opportunity laws? What is the role of social and legal institutions for women’s work? How do norms on female work vary across time and between societies and how do they change? How do norms on insurance and the expectation that women care about their relatives discourage women to choose high- paying jobs?
The Future of Work
The world’s poorest people lack access to modern reliable energy and this is correlated with the inability to engage in modern, productive labour market activities. The world poorest are also more affected by the externalities from growth, which include pollution, poor sanitation, environmental degradation and global warming. With a changing climate subsistence agricultural is likely to become a less productive and more risky means of livelihood, accelerating the growth of cities. Research under this theme will assess whether and how these changes affect labour market outcomes for both genders and the difference between the two.
Policies & Welfare
Research under this theme will analyse the welfare implications of policy solutions meant to promote gender parity. These include testing the effect of, among others, parental leave, childcare subsidies, vocational training for the young as well as to facilitate mothers’ return into the labour force, infrastructure to promote safety and reduce violence, edutainment to change norms. Research is needed to assess potential costs to men and women, especially in the short run when policies promote behaviours that go against established social norms. Implications for mental health are particularly important. Research is also needed to assess whether policies are zero-sum, that is redistribute from men to women, or whether they increase overall output and productivity via an improved allocation of talent and whether these gains can be widely shared, as that will ultimately determine whether they will receive majority support.See a list of all projects