The Impact of Gender Inequality on Economic Performance in Developing Countries

Posted: 29 Oct 2018

See all articles by Stephan Klasen

Stephan Klasen

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 2018

Abstract

Despite substantial progress, gender gaps persist in many developing countries. Since the 1990s, a literature has emerged arguing that these gaps not only are inequitable but also reduce economic performance. This review finds that, first, it is methodologically difficult to determine reliable effects of gender gaps on economic performance. Second, accounting studies that calculate how much larger GDP would be if gender gaps in employment disappeared vastly overestimate likely effects. Third, the theoretical literature has generated important insights on mechanisms linking gender gaps to economic performance. Fourth, systematic reviews of the cross-country evidence robustly show that lowering gender gaps in education leads to higher economic performance, while the literature on the impact of other gaps is much more limited. Fifth, there is accumulating micro evidence on how reducing particular gender gaps at the level of households, farms, or firms can improve economic performance in particular contexts, with robust results in some areas, and less clear evidence in others.

Suggested Citation

Klasen, Stephan, The Impact of Gender Inequality on Economic Performance in Developing Countries (October 2018). Annual Review of Resource Economics, Vol. 10, Issue 1, pp. 279-298, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3274161 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-resource-100517-023429

Stephan Klasen (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Platz der Goettinger Sieben 3
Goettingen, 37073
Germany
+49-551-397303 (Phone)
+49-551-397302 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.vwl.wiso.uni-goettingen.de/klasen.html

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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