Esther Ann Bøler, Beata Javorcik, Karen-Helene Ulltveit-Moe, 18 May 2015

The gender wage gap persists even in gender equal societies such as the Nordic countries. This column suggests that globalisation may play a role in that. The authors show that exporting firms have higher gender wage gaps although the effect is only present among college graduates. The heightened competition faced by exporters requires greater commitment and flexibility on the part of the workers, which leads to statistical gender discrimination.

Seema Jayachandran, Rohini Pande, 05 May 2015

Indian children are more likely to be malnourished than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite higher standards of living. This column uses data on child height – an anthropometric measure of net nutrition – from Africa and India to explore how parental gender preferences affect the likelihood of children being malnourished. Indian firstborn sons are found to have a height advantage over African firstborn sons, and the height disadvantage appears first in second-born children, increasing for subsequent births. This suggests that a preference for a healthy male heir influences fertility decisions and how parents allocate resources between their children.

Tomohiko Inui, Makiko Nakamuro, Kazuma Edamura, Junko Ozawa, 02 May 2015

In order to achieve sustainable growth, Japan should make an efficient use of its labour force. However, female labour force participation and the share of women in leading positions in Japan remain low. This column investigates the impact of board diversity on firms’ innovative activity using Japanese firm-level data. The findings suggest that board diversity is associated with innovation only for firms that have already acquired diverse management skills.

Luca Flabbi, Mario Macis, Andrea Moro, Fabiano Schivardi, 24 April 2015

Despite the convergence between men and women in many labour market indicators, women are still vastly underrepresented at the boardroom level. Using Italian data, this column presents new evidence on the impact of having a female CEO on the distribution of wages for male and female workers within firms. Female CEOs are shown to reduce the gender wage gap at the top of the wage distribution but widen it at the bottom. The authors also show that firms with female CEOs perform better, the higher the fraction of women in the firm’s workforce.

Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica, Jessica Pan, 13 April 2015

The reduction in the gender gap in labour market outcomes has stalled. Recent research suggests that gender identity might be one of the culprits. This column provides new evidence on the issue using US census data. The results indicate that the prescription that women should earn less than men plays a role in marriage rates, the labour market supply of women, and marital satisfaction. The interaction of economic progress and changing gender norms could therefore explain the lower marriage and fertility rates among educated women. 

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