Role of Gender Equality in Development - a Literature Review

44 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2005

See all articles by Anne Mikkola

Anne Mikkola

University of Helsinki and HECER - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 2005


This paper reviews a broad range of micro-, macroeconomic and development economics literature on the impact of gender equality on economic development and growth. Stylized facts are reported as well as the results of both empirical and theoretical research. Globally, women's roles are found to be in the midst of change. These changes may stem from technological improvement, as industrialization has made extensive home-based production obsolete and reduced the demand for children. Instead of the gendered specialization in autarkic households, contemporary specialization in the market place may have led to lower fertility and consequent shifts in women's economic roles. As historic hierarchical gender valuations appear in many different guises, adjustment to these changes pose challenges on many different levels. Overall the literature suggests that issues in gender inequality as it relates economic development fall into the categories of: values and religion, cultural restrictions and roles, legal and inheritance laws and practices, resource allocation within marriage, labor market access, education, fertility, gender specific market failures in finance, and power in decision making.

Keywords: Gender equality, development, women, segregation, discrimination, specialization, stylized facts

JEL Classification: O10, J16, J71, D63

Suggested Citation

Mikkola, Anne, Role of Gender Equality in Development - a Literature Review (December 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Anne Mikkola (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki and HECER - Department of Economics ( email )

FIN-00014 Helsinki

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