, PERI, University of Massachusetts
Expert Consultation on Women’s Economic
SOAS, University of London, Jan. 26
Rethinking the Role of
Broadening the conceptual framework: how is
side constraints and informality
The inherent imperfection of
Macroeconomics, growth, and
: often based on wage employment.
Focus: determinants of earnings.
equations. Gender frequently enters as a dummy variable.
: focuses on self
Estimate production functions: labor, capital (human &
fixed) as productive factors. Abstracts from other
constraints, including gender
Limited productive capital in many such enterprises
(working capital may be more important). Particularly true
for women's enterprises/activities.
through a variety of markets.
A range of institutions/constraints affect this exchange.
the concept of
Consider women’s self
employment. With few capital
inputs, women are effectively selling their
the exchange is frequently mediated by other markets
(suppliers, consumer markets).
Better understood by including these markets and
related institution into a consideration of ‘
These details are lost in a narrow
Unpaid care work
side of the ‘
demand constraints affect
informality, either overly short or overly long hours of
work, open unemployment, etc.
But the standard downward sloping
is overly narrow (wage employment,
Examples of sources of demand constraints:
Lack of access to markets (including domestic markets)
Insufficient investment/capital accumulation in formal sector
employment and the importance of derived demand
Due to segregation of activities, unequal demand for
relative to men's
women crowded into activities in which demand may
Affects returns to women’s market (remunerative)
markets to approximate a perfectly
competitive ideal is not as good of a strategy as getting
markets to work better.
Many sources: information asymmetries, social norms,
barriers to perfect mobility, transactions costs, market
power, contested exchanges, and gender dynamics.
Goal: labor market institutions which enhance
individual choices, provide adequate income/living
standards, address unequal market power (social
protections), and develop human resources.
Gender perspective critical.
as a macro issue
is a critical factor of production & the
markets matters for
macroeconomic outcomes (Solow,
The allocation of labor in the economy affects overall
performance. Concentration in high risk, low
productivity activities harms aggregate outcomes &
Gender segmentation has been shown to be highly
costly, not only to women, but to the economy as a
as a produced factor of
Growth models/policies often do not pay adequate
attention to how
is produced. Fertility, unpaid care
market aspects of human capital.
Some exceptions (e.g. Becker and
, 1989). However,
market factors essential to make growth work.
Altruism in the B&B model. Others have stressed non
market processes, gender roles, bargaining, a role for the
Need to consider a broader allocation of
market activities essential for growth.
markets involves a rethinking of the
allocation of ALL labor and how the development of
human resources is coordinated.