Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries

59 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2004

See all articles by Ghazala Azmat

Ghazala Azmat

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Queen Mary University of London

Maia Güell

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alan Manning

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Date Written: March 2004

Abstract

There is an enormous literature on gender gaps in pay and labour market participation but virtually no literature on gender gaps in unemployment rates. Although there are some countries in which there is essentially no gender gap in unemployment, there are others in which the female unemployment rate is substantially above the male. Although it is easy to give plausible reasons for why more women than men may decide not to want work, it is not so obvious why, once they have decided they want a job, women in some countries are less likely to be in employment than men. This is the subject of this Paper.

We show that, in countries where there is a large gender gap in unemployment rates, there is a gender gap in both flows from employment into unemployment and from unemployment into employment. We investigate different hypotheses about the sources of these gaps. Most hypotheses find little support in the data and the gender gap in unemployment rates (like the gender gap in pay) remains largely unexplained. But it does seem to correlate with attitudes on whether men are more deserving of work than women so that discrimination against women may explain part of the gender gap in unemployment rates in the Mediterranean countries.

Keywords: Gender gap, unemployment rates

JEL Classification: J16, J64

Suggested Citation

Azmat, Ghazala and Guell, Maia and Manning, Alan, Gender Gaps in Unemployment Rates in OECD Countries (March 2004). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4307. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=527682

Ghazala Azmat

London School of Economics - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Maia Guell (Contact Author)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 2717 (Phone)
+34 94 816 9721 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.upf.es/~mguell/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Alan Manning

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
(44 20) 7955 6078 (Phone)

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