A Spoucansion? (Centives Copyright Pending)

April 16, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

The ‘mancession’ – the empirical finding that the recent recession has caused far more males to be laid off than females – has become common knowledge. What has received less attention, yet is of similar magnitude, is the difference in unemployment rates between married and unmarried women writes Casey B. Mulligan in a two-part post. Highlights include:

  • The ‘mancession’ can be explained through demand side effects. During the mancession people cut back on their demand for goods from industries that disproportionately employ men such as manufacturing and housing. In contrast, people’s demand for things disproportionately produced by women such as healthcare and education, stayed about the same.
  • What isn’t as easily explained is that unmarried women lost more jobs than married women.
  • One explanation is that married women began to find jobs after their spouses lost theirs creating an added worker effect.
  • Another explanation is that safety net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps favour single-earner households, meaning that married women who are ineligible for such programs have more of an incentive to find work.

To read about how discrimination might play a role, how that discrimination is opposite to that observed during the Great Depression, and how the length of unemployment varies between married and unmarried women, click here and here.

Source: The New York Times