Explaining Women’s Employment Trajectories across Countries, 1992-2016: What Matters and for Whom?
Moderated by Anette Fasang
In European and North American countries, women’s employment rates exhibited a variety of trajectories from 1992-2016. We aim to understand the causes of this variation. Why have women’s employment rates increased in some countries while declining in others? How do explanations of these trends vary by women’s social location, specifically by the intersection of educational attainment and motherhood? Drawing on multiple strands of literature, we build hypotheses and analyze how women’s employment is affected by family policies, labor market regulations and conditions, income inequality, gender culture, and potential complementarities between these factors. We analyze data from the European Union labour force and current population surveys for 24 countries, spanning 1992 to 2016. We combine these data, in within-between random-effects models, with an original collection of country-level indicators. We model trends over time within countries and test for group-specific effects to establish how well changes in national-level conditions explain changes in group-specific employment rates. We advance the literature on women’s employment through a focus on change over time, the incorporation of income inequality, and greater attention to inequalities among women.
Jennifer Hook is Associate Professor at the University of Southern California. She is a Humboldt Fellow and visiting researcher in the WZB Research Groups “Demography and Inequality” and “Work and Care” until August 2019. She is currently working on a cross-national study of women’s employment.
Anette Fasang is Head of the WZB Research Group “Demography and Inequality” and Professor of Microsociology at the Humboldt-University Berlin.