Marriage patterns have changed in the last 50 years as fertility rates declined and cohabitation became more widespread. These trends can be explained by a shift in the gains from marriage away from specialisation and towards investment in children. This column argues that different patterns in childrearing are key to understanding class differences in marriage and parenthood. Heterogeneity in preferences for – or ability to invest in – child human capital explain marriage and fertility patterns across socioeconomic groups.
The US has experienced dramatic changes in patterns of marriage, cohabitation, and childbearing since 1950. Non-marital births have increased from 4% of all births in 1950 to 41% in 2010, and a majority (52%) of non-marital births now occur within cohabiting unions (Manlove et al. 2010). Much of this change can be accounted for by a reduction in 'shotgun' marriages (Akerlof, Yellen, Katz, 1996).
Explaining women’s success: technological change and the skill content of women’s work
Sandra E. Black, Alexandra Spitz-Oener01 September 2007
Data on Germany suggest that important differences in the evolution of skill requirements at work by gender explain a substantial fraction of the closing of the gender wage gap. Policies promoting female employment should respond to these changing skill requirements.
There is a lively debate as to why the gender wage gap has closed in industrialized countries in recent decades.1 When investigating possible explanations, most research has focused on factors such as education and experience, for which changes have been more favorable for women than for men; increased labor force participation and the changing characteristics of working women rank high on the list of likely causes.2 All of these explanations come from the supply side, implicitly assuming that there were no changes in the skill
Women and men are not equal in the labour market – not in terms of high-profile jobs or in terms of pay. Since equality of the sexes is considered a fundamental human right in all European nations, many countries are looking for policies that would reduce the gender gap. In Norway, since 1988, there must be a minimum of 40% of each gender in publicly appointed committees, boards, and councils, and from January 2008 females will have to make up at least 40% of all shareholder-owned companies' boards of directors.
Medical advances in the early part of the twentieth century, especially those concerning child-bearing, increased the fraction of women’s lives that could be devoted to the labour market. They account for the threefold increase in the labour force participation of married women with children between 1920 and 1970 in the US.
Married women are working more in the US. Indeed the rise is so dramatic that it constitutes one of the most notable economic phenomena of the twentieth century in the US. The trend is particular prominent for women with young children. These changes have a myriad of effects on the economy and society ranging from the care of young children and the nature of the family to the structure of income taxation and labour market flexibility. It has produced a revolutionary change in women's economic role.
There has been much debate centred around gender wage differentials and discrimination and one of the key questions to emerge whether competitive markets can bring an end to the unequal market outcomes for men and women or if some form of anti-discrimination law is necessary.
There has been much debate centred around gender wage differentials and discrimination and one of the key questions to emerge whether competitive markets can bring an end to the unequal market outcomes for men and women or if some form of anti-discrimination law is necessary. There has been extensive research in recent years relating to competition and gender gaps in selected industries, however a more general analysis seems to be still missing.
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Recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in female labour force participation rates, and a considerable narrowing of the gender gap in wages. Despite these advances, the gender gap persists – much of it due to gender disparities at the very high end of the wage distribution where women have made only limited inroads – the famous ‘glass ceiling’ of the upper echelons of academia, management, and prestigious professions.
President Sarkozy´s appointment of seven women, out of sixteen members, in the new French cabinet follows the path initiated by Spanish Prime Minister Rodriguez-Zapatero and Chilean President Michele Bachelet who gave half of the ministries to women. The EU share of female ministers is below 25% with only Finland, France, Spain and Sweden having a share close to 50%. These news have put again on the table the issue of whether these “affirmative action” policies are appropriate.