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Lo Bue, Maria C.
Tu Thi Ngoc Le
Santos Silva, Manuel
Sen, Kunal
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
WIDER Working Paper No. 2021/154
The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki
This paper investigates gender inequality in vulnerable employment: forms of employment typically featuring high precariousness, inadequate earnings, and lack of decent working conditions. Using a large collection of harmonized household surveys from developing countries, we measure long-term trends, describe geographical patterns, and estimate correlates of gender inequalities in vulnerable employment. Conditional on individual and household characteristics, women are 7 percentage points more likely to be in vulnerable employment than men. The experiences of marriage and parenthood are important drivers of this gender gap. Across countries, the gender gap is smaller in richer countries, with lower fertility rates, and more genderegalitarian laws, particularly those laws regulating marriage, parenthood, access to assets, and access to entrepreneurship. Since the 1990s, rising levels of female education and rapidly falling fertility have pulled women away from vulnerable employment at a faster rate than men. However, that process is largely exhausted, with current levels of the gender gap in vulnerable employment being almost entirely unexplained by standard labour supply factors.
vulnerable employment
gender gap
developing countries
International Income Distribution Database
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Document Type: 
Working Paper

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