OECD Development Centre Working Papers

The OECD Development Centre links OECD members with developing and emerging economies and fosters debate and discussion to seek creative policy solutions to emerging global issues and development challenges. This series of working papers is intended to disseminate the OECD Development Centre’s research findings rapidly among specialists in the field concerned. These papers are generally available in the original English or French, with a summary in the other language.

English, French

Why Do so many Women End up in Bad Jobs?

A Cross-country Assessment

There is an increasing concern in the development community about the increase in the ‘feminisation of bad jobs’ of many developing countries. Indeed, recent analysis shows a growing proportion of women are in jobs with poor working conditions and low pay. But what is driving this phenomenon? This paper addresses this issue by looking at the role of social institutions, i.e. traditions, social norms and informal laws, in shaping labour market outcomes. By applying the newly established Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) of the OECD on 44 developing countries, the paper finds that social institutions influence to a great extent activity patterns and job quality for women. Our results suggest that addressing discriminating social institutions is crucial for advancing gender equality.


Keywords: labour market, agriculture, social institutions, gender inequality, SIGI, job quality
JEL: J43: Labor and Demographic Economics / Particular Labor Markets / Agricultural Labor Markets; J16: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination; J8: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor Standards: National and International; J21: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure; D63: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics / Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement; H1: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government; F16: International Economics / Trade / Trade and Labor Market Interactions
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