A macro analysis of gender segregation and job quality in Latin America
PART OF A FORTHCOMING JOURNAL SPECIAL ISSUE OF WORLD DEVELOPMENT | Latin America has seen vast improvements in gender educational and health equality. Favorable supply-side conditions, however, have not translated into greater gender economic equality, a process that also depends on structural economic change and global macroeconomic conditions.
In this paper, we assess the role of a variety of macro-level policies and structures in influencing trends in women’s access to high-quality jobs for a sample of 15 countries in Latin America over the period 1990–2018. Using micro-level data, we first evaluate women’s relative share of good jobs, defined in terms of women’s weekly earnings in an industry or occupation relative to the national median wage.
Further, we econometrically estimate the association between a variety of macro-level variables and the relative quality of women’s jobs. Results indicate that the most significant and robust positive correlate of women’s relative access to good jobs is public social spending as a share of GDP. Other important macro-covariates include measures of labor market regulation, monetary and fiscal policy, and macroeconomic structure and global orientation, including financial openness.
The results suggest that macro-level structures and policies related to globalization that hamper the achievement of greater gender equality can be offset by appropriately targeted government policies.