The changing nature of gender selection into employment over the Great Recession

The Great Recession has strongly influenced employment patterns across skill and gender groups in EU countries. We analyze how these changes in workforce composition might distort comparisons of conventional measures of gender wage gaps via non-random selection of workers into EU labour markets. We document that male selection (traditionally disregarded) has become positive during the recession, particularly in Southern Europe. As for female selection (traditionally positive), our findings are twofold. Following an increase in the LFP of less-skilled women, due to an added-worker effect, these biases declined in some countries where new female entrants were able to find jobs, whereas they went up in other countries which suffered large female employment losses. Finally, we document that most of these changes in selection patterns were reversed during the subsequent recovery phase, confirming their cyclical nature.

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Linas Tarasonis
Juan J. Dolado
Cecilia Garcìa-Penalosa