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Women's Agency, Urbanisation and Wellbeing

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 7, 2022 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)

Hosted By: International Association for Feminist Economics
  • Chair: Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, Rutgers University

The Relationship between Gender Gaps and the Business Cycle

Denise Barth
,
DIW Berlin
Marius Clemens
,
DIW Berlin
Elke Holst
,
DIW Berlin

Abstract

"Business cycle fluctuations affect wages and labor supply of women and men differently. Using quarterly data for Germany between 1Q1995 to 4Q2020 we find that with the exception of the gender unemployment gap all other gender labor market gaps contract during a recession and widen during a boom on average. However, we also find the opposite relationship for some periods. These observations indicate that the type of the underlying shock influences gender gaps over the cycle.

In order to analyze this changing relationship of business cycle and gender gaps in Germany we implement gender-specific structural differences in a DSGE model with search and matching frictions. We consider that the structural labor market characteristics of men and women, i.e. labour supply elasticities, housework elasticity, affect the average cyclical dynamics of gender gaps. Furthermore, they react quite different depending on the underlying shock. Productivity and labour-supply driven shocks, a temporary decrease of homework productivity explain why the gender wage gap increase in a recession. In demand driven recessions the gender wage gap rather contracts.
"

The Gendered Effects of Urban Displacement

Arpita Biswas
,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Abstract

The relentless drive to demolish slums and redevelop freed-up lands into more “productive” uses constitutes an integral part of the neoliberal capitalist project in Indian cities. Policy makers claim that these measures will not only revitalize economic growth but would also arrest multi-dimensional urban problems of poor-quality housing, unemployment, and segregation. They argue that the latter potential would be attained through relocation of the poor from “illegal” settlements to formally-recognized localities. Critical scholarship on lived realities in resettlement colonies casts doubts on this distributional rhetoric of the demolition-relocation policy. Though enlightening and pertinent, most of the research in the area focuses on examining the policy’s impacts at the level of (relocated) families. In doing so, they treat the family as a unitary entity whose members are affected by relocation in the exact same ways. Feminist studies on displacement, however, underscore that it is a gendered process. Motivated by those and the branch of feminist literature that problematizes the family as a locus of both cooperation and conflict, this paper examines the effects of forced displacement on women’s participation in market work, and spousal violence against them in India’s capital city. Based on a methodical fieldwork-based case study of one of the oldest and largest resettlement colonies of post-90s’ Delhi, it identifies and elucidates disruption of varied livelihood options, essential public services, and close-knit community lives as the socio-spatial factors responsible for such effects. I expect this research to emphasize the need to transform slum eviction and relocation policy in favor of in-situ slum upgradation measures, as well as to contribute to the discourse on the gendered nature of “development”-induced displacements at a time when such displacements are gaining enormous valence in the policy circles across the globe.

Time and Income Poverty: Detecting Intersectional Differences Using Distributional Copulas

Franziska Dorn
,
University of Goettingen
Rosalba Radice
,
University of Goettingen
Giampiero Marra
,
University College London
Thomas Kneib
,
University of Goettingen

Abstract

Empirical research on poverty today often goes beyond a focus on income to consider other dimensions of well-being. However, relatively few multidimensional poverty measures explicitly consider time, despite its particular relevance to women's double burden of paid and unpaid work. Rather than relying on conventional univariate summaries, we use an empirical approach to construct a bivariate relative poverty line between income and leisure, based on their joint distribution in the population. As the strength of the dependence between income and leisure influences the vulnerability to poverty, we incorporate distributional regression into copula models to unpack the complexity of poverty among the intersection of gender and ethnicity. Utilizing the Mexican national survey of households, income and expenses from 2018, we estimate a difference of 10 percentage points between those who are defined as bidimensional poor compared to separate time and income measures. Specifically, education and the number of children increase the dependence structure for women but not for men. While indigenous women have the highest vulnerability of falling below the absolute poverty line, non-indigenous women are more likely of falling below the relative poverty line.

It Takes a Village: Gender, Motherhood, and Wages in India

Leila Gautham
,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Abstract

How is the contribution of motherhood to gender wage inequality mediated by economic development and urbanization? Combining rich employment and time use data, this paper provides the first estimates for the effect of children on women’s wages in India, and the contribution of children to gender wage inequality. I find substantial heterogeneity in this “motherhood penalty:” wage reductions following motherhood are large for urban women, but negligible for rural women. To explain this difference, I show that constraints to combining paid work and childcare are greater for urban mothers compared to their rural counterparts. First, I show that childbirth reduces paid labor supply to a greater extent, and for a longer period, for urban women compared to rural women. Second, I show that differences in the nature of work environments – in particular, the incidence of salaried, formal employment among urban women – play an important role in mediating the wage effects of reduced labor supply following childbirth. The educational and job characteristics that give urban women an earnings advantage over their rural counterparts are associated with greater wage losses after childbearing. These findings reinforce the policy implication that supporting unpaid childcare is essential for ensuring that economic development empowers women.

Can Mining Change Regressive Cultural Norms? Evidence on Acceptance of Domestic Violence and Shared Decision-Making in India

Nidhiya Menon
,
Brandeis University
Amanda Guimbeau
,
Brandeis University
James Ji Ji
,
Brandeis University
Yana Rodgers
,
Rutgers University

Abstract

"This study focuses on the impact of proximity to mineral deposits and active mines on various measures of women’s agency and human capital in India. Identification leverages the
plausibly exogenous spatial variation in the occurrence of mineral deposits across districts. Results indicate that women’s outcomes improve near mines: there is reduced acceptance
of physical violence and women report fewer barriers to accessing health care. These benefits are pronounced among women greater than 25 years of age, and in the proximity of mines
that employ relatively high shares of women. Concomitantly, men’s likelihood of making decisions jointly with spouses increases, and men are less likely to justify domestic violence.
The underlying mechanisms include improvements in women’s human capital, employment gains, and better knowledge of and access to financial capital. Their children also experience
gains in nutritional status. Another key channel is the sharing of mining royalties with local groups that support investments in vulnerable groups. Findings imply that mineral mining can
bring measurable benefits to women’s agency, especially when returns are invested in improving the welfare of local populations."
JEL Classifications
  • B0 - General
  • I0 - General