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Public policies are important in promoting gender equality. Family policies, parental leave and formal childcare provisions may help support the female labour supply, while gender quotas may be useful in reducing the glass ceiling. Other provisions in the labour market, such as flexible work arrangements and new forms of job flexibility, have also proved to play a relevant role. This chapter explores how these policies are effective in addressing gender gaps. The chapter concentrates on the relationship between public policy and gender equality, taking into account how difficult it is to identify the effects of the presence of public policy and its impact on gender equality. The chapter starts from family policy and then moves to taxation, to measures in the labour market and finally pensions.
The chapter answers the following questions: Are female politicians making different decisions than male politicians? Is a gender-balanced composition of policymakers influencing the level of public spending and the allocation among different items? Is it reorienting the priorities of politicians towards, for example, social or welfare expenditures? Before analyzing the relationship between the gender of politicians and public policy outcomes, the chapter provides new evidence that male and female political candidates have different preferences which create expectations for a different political agenda. Both macro evidence and micro evidence are presented to identify the impact of women in decision-making positions on public policy. The chapter shows that, as a general result, the allocation of expenditures, rather than the total size, is responsive to the gender of politicians. Moreover, the results differ between developing and developed countries: in developing countries we observe that, as expected, a higher share of women is associated with policies that are more oriented towards social issues, education and women’s needs, whereas in developed countries, the evidence is much less conclusive. Finally, the chapter provides evidence of the impact of women in decision-making positions on a different dimension of public policy, for example, monetary policy.
The relationship between gender and public policy is twofold. On the one hand, public policies are needed to promote gender equality in a context in which the under-representation of women in the economic and political spheres has negative consequences for both equality and efficiency. On the other hand, the constant progress towards a gender-balanced socioeconomic role for women and the process towards women’s empowerment have the political capacity to reorient decisions related to public policies. This may in turn reinforce the link between policies and gender equality.
The previous chapters investigated the nature and development of this twofold relationship. Gender gaps in the economic and political dimensions are still widespread around the world: the evidence presented in Chapter 2 shows that they include low female labour force participation, differences in wages between men and women and lower career prospects for women than for men.
This chapter introduces the double relationship between gender equality and public policy that will be developed in the book: on one side how policies promote women’s equality and on the other the effect of women on making policy.
This chapter presents data and facts that provide a scenario of gender gaps along the three main dimensions of education, the labour market and politics and the main trends across countries and over time. It also explains the main determinants of gender gaps in the labour market.
This chapter considers three major global challenges and explains how they interact with gender equality and public policy - demographic, socioeconomic and technological changes. Demographic challenges such as the ageing of the population and migration flows will continue to increase in Europe. The increasing presence of women in the labour market interacts with this global demographic change, because more women at work may influence fertility rates. Similarly, migration flows may mitigate the consequences of the ageing process. At the same time, there is a constant process of socioeconomic changes: the old European continent must face the challenge of modest economic growth and increasing inequality. More women at work may be a way to increase economic output, a crucial outcome in times of slow economic growth. A major challenge is how to promote growth sustainably. Technological changes also have the potential to transform the global employment landscape. A gender divide emerges: by making possible new forms of job organization, such as remote working, the digital revolution can create more work for women and enhance women’s empowerment. On the other hand, it may represent a barrier for women who are less involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) educational disciplines and who therefore risk being less involved than men as primary actors in these transformations.
This chapter presents evidence on individual psychological attributes and preferences of men and women which combine to identify the female ‘style of leadership‘. It then focuses on women as decision-makers in business positions and presents empirical analysis to test some of the predictions of the impact of female leadership on firms’ outcomes using rigorous identification strategies. The empirical analysis is organized by outcome: firms’ business performance, firms’ social and sustainability performance, firms’ international performance (export and trade) and labour market outcomes. Cross-country analysis with fixed effects as well as more detailed country analyses for two selected countries, Norway and Italy, are provided.
Despite formal UN and European Commission commitments to improve gender imbalances, progress towards gender equality in wealth and pay has progressed at a discouragingly slow pace in recent decades. European countries have been more proactive in their support for corrective policies, such as family leave and gender quotas for corporate boards, yet measuring the effectiveness of these policies has proven difficult. This book offers a close comparative analysis of gender-targeted policies in Europe, providing an in-depth overview of how public policy is shaping gender equality, and how the presence of women in the economy and decision-making positions is itself shaping public policy. Paola Profeta bases her analysis on new data and an innovative interdisciplinary perspective for understanding the relationship between gender, equality and public policy, and their final impact on the European economy and society, with lessons that resonate beyond Europe.
Political elements interact with economic factors to determine the decision of tax instruments and the choice among them. Political constraints and incentives are indeed the true driver of tax reforms. How are fiscal systems and instruments chosen in a political and institutional context? The literature on this argument is very extensive. This chapter provides a general framework for the analysis of political economy of taxation and tax reforms, referring to the probabilistic voting model. Our framework links collective choice theoretical models to empirical analysis, which tests the level and composition of public revenues in democratic countries. It delivers interesting guidelines to consider the following issues: (i) labour income tax systems and reforms in EU countries; (ii) wealth transfer taxes in G7 countries; (iii) the emergence of tax complexity in modern democracies. Finally, it turns out to be valuable when we consider the link between taxation (and its major components) and democracy around the world.
Taxation is a major issue in economics and politics. Tax design and the implementation of tax reforms are at the core of economic policy. They are also among the more debated issues in the political arena. In modern democracies tax reforms need the support of voters in order to be implemented, while at the same time policy-makers try to design a tax system and propose tax reforms to attract and please as many voters as possible. Political support is essential in order to implement tax reforms. The issue of taxation can attract and shift votes, in particular those of uncertain citizens (who may be a large part of the electorate) who decide which party to vote for by computing the advantages, even (and, in some cases, mainly) fiscal ones, that they could enjoy from this party as opposed to the opponents. In non-democratic countries the process underlying tax decisions is much more difficult and less clear to predict. Lobbies, interest groups and economically and politically powerful groups have a dominant role. When countries experience a democratic transition it may be very likely that these influences remain strong and interact with voters ‘ preferences in determining tax policy outcomes. The outcome is therefore more complex to predict.
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