The Costs of Exclusion: Gender Job Segregation, Structural Change, and the Labour Share of Income

While women's share of employment has risen in many countries over the last two decades, they are increasingly excluded from 'good' jobs in the industrial sector. This paper by Stephanie Seguino of University of Vermont and Elissa Braunstein of Colorado State University examines the determinants of gender job segregation for a broad set of developing countries from 1991 to 2015. The effect of gender job segregation on all workers, via the labor share of income, is also analyzed. The results identify two major contributors to gender job segregation—the rising capital/labour ratio and the ratio of female/male labour force participation rates—indicative of 'crowding' and exclusion as economies move up the industrial ladder.

Abstract

While women’s share of employment has risen in many countries over the last two decades, they are increasingly excluded from ‘good’ jobs in the industrial sector, and gender job segregation has worsened. In this paper, the determinants of gender job segregation are assessed using panel data for a broad set of developing countries covering the period 1991-2015. The effect of gender job segregation on all workers, via the labour share of income, is also analysed. The results identify two major contributors to gender job segregation—the rising capital/labour ratio and the ratio of female/male labour force participation rates—indicative of ‘crowding’ and exclusion as economies move up the industrial ladder. The analysis further indicates that the crowding of women into lower quality jobs has a negative effect on workers as a whole by dampening the labour share of income. Those processes are influenced by global and macroeconomic conditions and policies that have circumscribed the expansion of high-quality jobs relative to labour supply, intensifying competition for ‘good’ jobs and weakening labour’s bargaining power.

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