The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations with Francine Blau

March 23, 2017

Using data from the 1980-2010 time period, Francine Blau provides new empirical evidence on the extent of and trends in the gender wage gap, which declined considerably over this period.  By 2010, conventional human capital variables taken together explained little of the gender wage gap, while gender differences in occupations and industries continued to be important. Moreover, the gender pay gap declined much more slowly at the top of the wage distribution that at the middle or the bottom and, by 2010, was noticeably higher at the top. Francine also uses the literature to identify what has been learned about the explanations for the gap, considering the role of human capital and gender roles, gender differences in occupations and industries, gender differences in psychological attributes, and labor market discrimination against women.

 

Francine Blau, Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, ILR School, Cornell University

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Can Financial Incentives Reduce the Baby Gap? Evidence from a Reform in Maternity Leave Benefits with Anna Raute

March 16, 2017

Over the past five decades, women's educational attainment and labor market participation have increased tremendously. At the same time, many developed countries have faced decreasing birth rates and below replacement fertility levels. All OECD countries, except the US, now provide paid parental leave in order to facilitate family and career compatibility and lower the cost of childbearing. Drawing on insights from a major reform of parental leave benefits in Germany, this seminar explores whether earnings dependent parental leave benefits have a positive impact on fertility, and whether they are successful at narrowing the baby gap between high educated (high earning) and low educated (low earning) women.

Anna Raute, WAPPP Fellow; Assistant Professor in Economics, University of Mannheim

 

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Linking Non-Cognitive Skills and Educational Achievement to Girls in Developing Societies: The Case of Ghana with Sally Nuamah

January 26, 2017

Recent literature on non-cognitive skills provides promising evidence on the power of community and classroom based interventions for closing achievement gaps across school quality, race, and class. Yet, much of this work has been conducted on males that attend elite institutions in the U.S. There is very little work on how these same tactics can be implemented to overcome gender barriers and improve educational achievement of girls, particularly those that attend schools in non-western settings. In this seminar, Sally Nuamah investigates the experiences of girls from underprivileged backgrounds in Ghana striving to be the first in their families to go to college. She finds that school structure - leadership, curriculum, and peer networks - mediates the effects of their socio-cultural environments and individual background through the facilitation of positive academic identities (non-cognitive skills) that promote identity building and strategy development. These positive academic identities are useful for navigating the gender specific barriers that these girls face, thereby enabling their academic achievement.

Sally Nuamah, WAPPP Fellow; Joint Postdoctoral Fellow, University Center for Human Values and Center for Study of Democratic Politics, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

 

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On Her Account: Can Strengthening Women’s Financial Control Boost Female Labor Supply? With Simone Schaner

December 1, 2016

Across the world, the increasing use of digital payments for government to person transactions for social programs has provided an entry point for the world’s poor into the formal financial sector. This phenomenon begs the question: how can governments best leverage this opportunity to enable economic empowerment for women? This seminar explores research that uses a randomized controlled trial to assess how financial inclusion coupled with targeted benefit payments impact women's labor force participation and economic welfare in India.

Simone Schaner, Assistant Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Dartmouth College

 

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The History of the ‘Mommy Track’ with Elizabeth Singer

November 10, 2016

As women began to fill the ranks of management in the 1980s, the impact of motherhood on an individual’s career trajectory and the corporate balance sheet became a source of debate among feminists and business leaders. In this seminar, Elizabeth Singer More examines the “mommy track” argument that some feminists, most prominently Felice Schwartz of Catalyst, claimed would save businesses money by working to retain white-collar women. Schwartz hoped this argument would persuade businesses to provide benefits, such as flex-time and paid maternity leave, which they had resisted providing for years. But there were two significant costs to the “mommy track” argument. The first was the possibility that mothers who did not want to be on a decelerated career track would be involuntarily sidelined. The second was that by basing a claim for treating mothers as valued employees on the company’s profit interest alone, feminists risked losing the standing to demand rights and benefits that did not directly benefit the bottom line.

Elizabeth Singer More, WAPPP Fellow; Lecturer on History and Literature; Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University

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The Long-run Effect of Maternity Leave Benefits on Mental Health: Evidence from European Countries with Lisa Berkman

April 7, 2016

Maternity leave policies have known effects on short-term child outcomes. However, little is known about the long-run impact of such leaves on women’s health as they age. This seminar examines whether maternity leave policies have an effect on women's mental health in older age. Data for women age 50 years and above from countries in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) are linked to data on maternity leave legislation from 1960 onwards. A difference-in-differences approach that exploits changes over time within countries in the duration and compensation of maternity leave benefits is linked to the year women were giving birth to their first child at age 16 to 25. Late-life depressive symptom scores of mothers who were in employment in the period around the birth of their first child were compared to depression scores of mothers who were not in employment in the period surrounding the birth of a first child and, therefore, did not benefit directly from maternity leave benefits. The findings suggest that a more generous maternity leave during the birth of a first child is associated with reduced depression symptoms in late life. This seminar explores how policies experienced in midlife may have long-run consequences for women’s health and wellbeing.

Speaker:

Lisa Berkman, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology; Director, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard. T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Can Professionally-employed Mothers Have It All? An Examination of the Relationship Between Social Support, Self-efficacy and Turnover Intentions of First-time Mothers with Jamie Ladge

March 31, 2016

The return to work following the birth of a first child is often a period of time when new mothers are working towards mastering the tasks associated with caring for an infant and managing their workplace demands.  New mothers may consider leaving their organization if they question their ability to either effectively perform their job or their parenting roles.  Drawing from social support and social comparison theories, this seminar explores how supportive work environments shape new mothers’ turnover intention.  Using a sample of 695 new mothers who had recently returned to work following the birth of their first child, Ladge finds evidence that perceived manager support and role models who portray work and family balance influence both job and maternal self-efficacies, which contribute to new mothers’ turnover intentions.

Speaker: Jamie Ladge, Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Development, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University

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Two Decades of Gender-Role Attitude Change in Europe with Mary Brinton

February 29, 2016

This seminar explores the assumption of many cross-national studies that gender-role attitudes fall along a single continuum between traditional and egalitarian. Brinton analyzes over-time data from 18 European countries and identifies trajectories of attitudinal change. Brinton demonstrates that while traditional gender-role attitudes have precipitously and uniformly declined, European nations are not converging towards one dominant egalitarian model but instead are diverging across three distinct varieties of egalitarianism.
Speaker: Mary C. Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology, Harvard University
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Gender Inequality: A Comparative View of the Challenges Ahead with Mary Brinton and Claudia Goldin

November 20, 2015


Gender Inequality persists to varying degrees across post-industrial economies. The seminar introduces the new Weatherhead Initiative at Harvard to study comparative gender inequality in OECD countries and outlines some of the major scholarly and policy challenges relating to the structure of work and its articulation with the family. 

Speakers: Mary Brinton, Reischauer Institute Professor of Sociology; Department Chair, Department of Sociology, Harvard University and Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee Professor of Economics, Harvard University
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Reserving Time for Daddy: The Short- and Long-Term Consequences of Fathers’ Quotas with Ankita Patnaik

September 17, 2015

Paternity leave, men's role in childcare, and their work-life balance have become more commonly discussed topics by policymakers and business leaders. What kinds of policies succeed in getting fathers involved in their children's lives from the beginning? What are the long-term consequences for families, in terms of fathers' and mothers' careers, incomes, and the division of household labor at home? In this seminar, Ankita Patnaik discusses how parental leave schemes can be designed to induce fathers to participate and whether small changes in the initial parenting experience can have lasting effects on both parents' behavior. She presents findings from a study that shows that even a few weeks of paternity leave can have a large and persistent impact on sex specialization in the long-term by encouraging a more equal distribution of household responsibilities. Speaker: Ankita Patnaik, Researcher, Mathematica Policy Research

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