Removing gender barriers 'would significantly boost productivity'

Removing the barriers to labour market participation that women face in many parts of the world will lead to substantial productivity gains, according to new research.

Removing the barriers to labour market participation that women face in many parts of the world will lead to substantial productivity gains, according to new research.

The study by Marc Teignier, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the Universitat de Barcelona, will be presented today at the Royal Economic Society’s 2014 conference. It examines the quantitative effects of gender gaps in entrepreneurship and labour force participation on aggregate productivity and income per capita. It finds that:

– When all women are excluded from entrepreneurship, average output per worker drops by almost 12% because the average talent of entrepreneurs falls.

– If all women are excluded from the labour force, on the other hand, average income decreases by almost 40%.

– Gender gaps and their implied income losses differ widely across geographical regions of the globe: the largest income loss – 27% – is in the Middle East and North; and the second largest in South Asia – 19%.

– Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the lowest total income loss due to gender gaps, 8.5%.

– Europe is the region with the lowest labour participation gender gap, 15.1%, and the second lowest total income loss, 10.4%.

Marc Teignier says: "When people are free to choose their occupation, the most talented individuals – independently of their gender – will often organise production carried out by others, and so they will spread their ability advantage over a large scale. ‘From this point of view, obstacles to women's access to entrepreneurship reduce the average ability of a country's entrepreneurs and negatively affect the way production is organised in the economy and, hence, its aggregate efficiency."
 





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