The Gendered Societal Equilibrium: In Search for an Economic Rationale
28 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 17, 2020
Several occupations are male-dominated while others are women-dominated, and gender-based segregation shows great resistance to change. Researchers attribute it to secular stereotypes, socialization practices and gender-constructed roles. This paper attempts to establish an economic rationale behind these theories. In this paper, women have greater difficulty to conciliate the labor market with the household and for that reason have a higher cost of effort. We found that when the marginal cost of effort is increasing with effort, production tends to be organized in more competitive ways in which men are more competitive. In those cases, the economic forces push men towards these more competitive occupations, which are also the ones with higher returns. On the other hand, when the marginal cost of effort is decreasing with effort, production is organized in less competitive ways and women tend to provide higher effort than men. In those cases, the economic forces push women towards these less competitive occupations, which are also the ones with lower returns. These findings may help researchers and decision-makers better understand the economic mechanisms behind men and women occupational choices, e.g., in STEM, and designing policies that can allow men and women to have the same labor market opportunities.
Keywords: Gender Equality; Occupational Segregation; Effort Cost; Stereotypes; Economic Incentives
JEL Classification: J16; J30; D63; C72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation