Research Papers Product year
  • The labor productivity gap between female and male-managed firms

    This study analyzes gender differences in labor productivity in the formal private sector, using data from 128 mostly developing economies. The results reveal a sizable unconditional gap, with labor productivity being approximately 11 percent lower among female- than male-managed firms. The analyses are based on female management, which is more strongly associated with labor productivity than female participation in ownership, which has been the focus of most previous studies. Decomposition techniques reveal several factors that contribute to lower labor productivity of female-managed firms relative to male-managed firms: fewer female- than male-managed firms protect themselves from crime and power outages, have their own websites, and are (co-) owned by foreigners. In addition, in the manufacturing sector, female-managed firms are less capitalized and have lower labor cost than male-managed firms.

  • Unequal laws and the disempowerment of women in the labor market : evidence from firm-level data

    Institutions are defined as the set of rules that govern human interactions. When these rules are discriminatory, they may disempower segments of a population in the economic spheres of activity. This study explores whether laws that discriminate against women influence their engagement in the economy. The study adopts a holistic approach, exploring an overall measure of unequal laws also known as legal gender disparities, and relates it to several labor market outcomes for women. Using data for more than 60,000 firms across 104 economies, the study finds that unequal laws not only discourage women's participation in the private sector workforce, but also their likelihood to become top managers and owners of firms. Suggestive evidence indicates that access to finance and corruption are pathways by which legal gender disparities disempower women in the labor market.

  • Absent Laws and Missing Women: Can Domestic Violence Legislation Reduce Female Mortality?

    This study contributes to the literature on legal institutions and determinants of adult mortality. The paper explores the relationship between the presence of domestic violence legislation and women-to-men adult mortality rates. Using panel data for about 95 economies between 1990 and 2012, the analysis finds that having domestic violence legislation leads to lower women-to-men adult mortality rates.

  • Does Paternity Leave Matter for Female Employment in Developing Economies?

    For a sample of 53 developing countries, the results show that women's employment among private firms is significantly higher in countries that mandate paternity leave versus those that do not. A conservative estimate suggests an increase of 6.8 percentage points in the proportion of women workers associated with the mandating of paternity leave.

  • Women managers and the gender-based gap in access to education

    Several studies explore the differences in men’s and women’s labor market participation rates and wages. Some of these differences have been linked to gender disparities in education attainment and access. Using firm-level data for 73 developing countries, the analysis finds strong evidence that countries with a higher proportion of female top managers also have higher enrollment rates for women relative to men in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.

  • Are there more female managers in the retail sector?

    This research paper uses firm-level data for 87 developing countries to analyze how the likelihood of a firm having female vs. male top manager varies across sectors. The service sector is often considered to be more favorable toward women compared with men vis-à-vis the manufacturing sector.

  • Does mandating nondiscrimination in hiring practices influence women’s employment?

    This study explores the relationship between mandating a nondiscrimination clause in hiring practices along gender lines and the employment of women versus men in 58 developing countries. The study finds a strong positive relationship between a nondiscrimination in hiring clause and women’s relative to men’s employment.

  • Gender based differences in managerial experience: The case of informal firms in Rwanda

    The paper contributes to the literature on gender-based disparity in human capital by extending existing results on education attainment to the number of years of experience that female vs. male managers have among informal or unregistered firms. Using the case of Rwanda, results show that the number of years of experience for female managers is significantly lower, equating 80-88 percent that of male managers. We also find that this gender disparity is higher among the relatively older managers and among firms in the relatively less developed city of Butar compared with the more developed city of Kigali.

  • Gender disparity in human capital: Going beyond schooling

    The paper contributes to the literature on gender-based disparity in human capital by extending existing results on educational attainment to the number of years of experience that top female and male managers have. For a sample of 71 developing countries, results show that the number of years of experience for female managers is significantly lower, equaling 83-86 percent that of their male counterparts.

  • Gender and firm-size: Evidence from Africa

    A number of studies show that relative to male owned businesses, female owned businesses are smaller in size. However, these studies are restricted to the developed countries. We find similar results for firms in the unregistered sector of developing countries of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Mauritius.