Discussing reasons behind absence of women from labor force
The conference of the EALE is among the most important meetings of labor economists in Europe, not only in terms of the sheer number of presentations and topics discussed, but also due to the quality of the participants. We are extremely happy to be part of this year conference,and not just because it is in the beautiful city of Saint-Gallen (Switzerland)
We presented our research on female employment gaps and their evolution during transition, which is available here. Aggregate data show that women employment changed in opposing directions in advanced and transition. Whereas in advanced countries we observe a continuous increase in female employment rate (ER), in transition countries female ER dropped abruptly at the onset of transition and it failed to pickup later on. Our research explores several possible answers.
Results paint a more nuanced story that has some lessons for non-transition economies as well. We find that traditional explanations (unemployment prevalence, artificially high employment rates before transition) have little explanatory power; only the educational boom and the newly placed labor market frictions at entry appear to drive the results. What is more interesting, we found that the institutional improvements that were correlated to an increase in employment in advanced economies, did not have a similar effect on transition countries. Furthermore, the lack of an effect is not a feature of transition economies, but a result of the lower gender gaps in transition economies. What does it mean? It means that the institutions that help to foster female employment might help to close the gap up to a certain point, after which new policies are needed.
Our beautiful poster is available below. It goes without saying that w thank participants for their useful comments.