How to make sure women work?
Each year, EALE offers a great opportunity to discuss breakthroughs in the analysis of labor markets, including our analysis of the relation of labor market shocks and wage inequality. Our analysis looks at changes in the gender wage gap in transition economies, We find that during periods of fast labor reallocation, and in particular during periods of accelerated job destruction, differences in earnings between men and women tend to increase. The relation was particularly visible among workers who joined the labor market prior to the liberalization; whereas in the case of younger workers differences between men and women bear no significant relation to labor market flows.
These results can arise from several different theories. It might be that women were more risk averse than men. If that were the case, the one would expect them to be more eager to accept wage cuts in order to maintain the current employment status. This could help to explain the lack of effects among the youth, as these workers did not have any ``secure'' position. Alternatively, in a context where men were thought as the main breadwinners, it is possible that employers preferred to let go female workers. If this is more common among lower educated women, then the adjusted differences between men and women would increase reflecting a composition effect. At this point, however, we are not able to distinguish between the two possibilities.
As usual, participation in EALE gave place for lots of very stimulating discussions, including some valuable comments on our research that we hope to implement in the future. The rest is to thank the organizers for the wonderful event and hope to participate again next year.