Ladies First? Firm-Level Evidence of the Labor Impacts of the East Asian Crisis

Abstract

In a crisis, do employers place the burden of adjustment disproportionately on female employees? Relying on household and labor force data, existing studies of the distributional impact of crises have not been able to address this question. This paper uses Indonesia's census of manufacturing firms to analyze employer responses and to identify mechanisms by which gender differences in impact may arise, notably differential treatment of men and women within firms as well as gender sorting across firms that varied in their exposure to the crisis. On average, women experienced higher job losses than their male colleagues within the same firm. However, the aggregate adverse effect of such differential treatment was more than offset by women being disproportionately employed in firms hit relatively less hard by the crisis. The null hypothesis that there were no gender differences in wage adjustment is not rejected. Analyzing how employer characteristics impact labor market adjustment patterns contributes to the understanding of who is vulnerable in volatile times.

Citation

Hallward-Driemeier, M.; Rijkers, B.; Waxman, A. Ladies First? Firm-Level Evidence of the Labor Impacts of the East Asian Crisis. The World Bank, Washington DC, USA (2011) II + 46 pp.

Ladies First? Firm-Level Evidence of the Labor Impacts of the East Asian Crisis

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