By Christopher F Baum
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Extra resources for Facilitating Applied Economic Research With Stata
Even if we compare country experiences since 1980, the female employment gap between, say, the United States and Germany in 1980 was about 5 percentage points in favor of the United States but by 2000 it increased to 10 points. To take another example, in 1980 the gap between the United Kingdom and France was 5 points in favor of the United Kingdom, but by 2000 it increased to 12 points. There has been a uniform increase in female employment rates but some countries did better than others. We investigate here whether the reasons for the differences in country experiences can be attributed to the institutional structure of their labor or product markets.
But the positive correlation between the big spenders and their employment rates, essentially the Scandinavian countries, is evident. The graph also shows a time series correlation. The sequences of points moving in the north-eastern direction, evident in the graph, are points that apply to single countries since 1980. Countries that have increased family day care spending and experienced a growth in female employment rates include the four Scandinavian countries and also Austria, Germany and Ireland.
But part-time work is sometimes criticised as a form of underemployment, paying lower wages and providing inferior fringe beneﬁts than full-time work (see OECD 1999, Ch. 1). Similarly, temporary contracts provide ﬁrms with a useful means of worker screening, and therefore represent useful stepping-stones towards offers of permanent employment. But they may also be used as a cheaper option for adjusting employment, with lower wages and severance payments, and poor training (see Booth et al. 2002).