A service of the

Forum

The Economic Costs of Gender Inequality

Much attention is given to the existence and measurement of gender inequality, but relatively little attention is given to the economic costs that result from this inequality. Following up on our November 2016 conference on this issue, the papers in this Forum make it clear that while the quest for gender equality is necessary as a matter of justice and fairness, the existence – and persistence – of inequality also has a significant negative effect on the economic performance of Europe.

Figure of the Month

Female labour force participation, ages 25-54

Female labour force participation, ages 25-54

in % of same-age population. Sources: Eurostat; and IMF staff calculations.

This figure from “Unlocking The Potential of Female Employment in Europe” by Pereira et al. shows how female labour force participation in Europe has evolved since the year 2000.

Editorial

2017: The Year of European Populism?

After the shocks of Brexit and Trump in 2016, what should we expect for 2017? The upcoming elections in France, the Netherlands, Germany and possibly Italy all have the possibility to bring populists to power. Clemens Fuest writes that countering the simple, emotional and radical messages of populists will be a difficult task for mainstream political parties. They will have to remind their elecorates that nationalism and xenophobia in Europe have always done far more harm than good.

Inefficient Inequality

Gender and Inequality: Austerity and Alternatives

Diane Perrons details how the road to macroeconomic recovery following the Great Recession was unnecessarily gendered. While recovery projects at the time focused primarily on creating jobs in male-dominated professions such as construction, a greater economic effect could have been achieved through investment in social infrastructure professions such as childcare and elderly care, which tend to be female-dominated.

Letter from America

Trump's Confrontational Trade Policy

Early indications make clear that Trump's campaign rhetoric promoting trade protectionism will be turned into official policy. Caroline Freund writes that his confrontational approach to international trade will at best be intermediated by the WTO and at worst lead to retaliation and an unraveling of existing trade agreements. The gravest danger is that it leads to an unraveling of global economic cooperation.

Quote of the Month

Gender and Inequality

“The low rewards to care work are rooted in gendered perceptions that regard caring skills as women's 'natural' talents, which are to be admired and treasured rather than valued and paid as material competencies.”

from Diane Perrons's Forum article "Gender and Inequality: Austerity and Alternatives"

From the Archives

A Second Look at the Maastricht Treaty

In honour of the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, we present Klaus Reeh's 1993 article, in which the author assesses the Treaty's chances of success. He warns that the costs of introducing a single currency may "arise as political costs through an erosion of the commitment to the single market and the whole European project".