Barbara Petrongolo

Queen Mary University and
Centre for Economic Performance, LSE
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2017The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries
with Claudia Olivetti: w23051
We draw lessons from existing work and our own analysis on the effects of parental leave and other interventions aimed at aiding families. The outcomes of interest are female employment, gender gaps in earnings and fertility. We begin with a discussion of the historical introduction of family policies ever since the end of the nineteenth century and then turn to the details regarding family policies currently in effect across high-income nations. We sketch a framework concerning the effects of family policy to motivate our country- and micro-level evidence on the impact of family policies on gender outcomes. Most estimates of the impact of parental leave entitlement on female labor market outcomes range from negligible to weakly positive. There is stronger evidence that spending on early e...

Published: Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 205-230, Winter. citation courtesy of

January 2016The Evolution of Gender Gaps in Industrialized Countries
with Claudia Olivetti: w21887
Women in developed economies have made major inroads in labor markets throughout the past century, but remaining gender differences in pay and employment seem remarkably persistent. This paper documents long-run trends in female employment, working hours and relative wages for a wide cross-section of developed economies. It reviews existing work on the factors driving gender convergence, and novel perspectives on remaining gender gaps. The paper finally emphasizes the interplay between gender trends and the evolution of the industry structure. Based on a shift-share decomposition, it shows that the growth in the service share can explain at least half of the overall variation in female hours, both over time and across countries.

Published: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:8:y:2016:p:405-434 unknown citation courtesy of

May 2015Can helping the sick hurt the able? Incentives, information and disruption in a disability-related welfare reform
with Nitika Bagaria, John Van Reenen: w21163
Disability rolls have escalated in developed nations over the last 40 years. The UK, however, stands out because the numbers on these benefits stopped rising when a welfare reform was introduced that integrated disability benefits with unemployment insurance (UI). This policy reform improved job information and sharpened bureaucratic incentives to find jobs for the disabled (relative to those on UI). We exploit the fact that policy was rolled-out quasi-randomly across geographical areas. In the long-run the policy improved the outflows from disability benefits by 6% and had an (insignificant) 1% increase in unemployment outflows. This is consistent with a model where information helps both groups, but bureaucrats were given incentives to shift effort towards helping the disabled find jobs ...
August 2011Gender Gaps across Countries and Skills: Supply, Demand and the Industry Structure
with Claudia Olivetti: w17349
The gender wage gap varies widely across countries and across skill groups within countries. Interestingly, there is a positive cross-country correlation between the unskilled-to-skilled gender wage gap and the corresponding gap in hours worked. Based on a canonical supply and demand framework, this positive correlation would reveal the presence of net demand forces shaping gender differences in labor market outcomes across skills and countries. We use a simple multi-sector framework to illustrate how differences in labor demand for different inputs can be driven by both within-industry and between-industry factors. The main idea is that, if the service sector is more developed in the US than in continental Europe, and unskilled women tend to be over-represented in this sector, we expect u...

Published: “Gender Gaps across Countries and Skills: Supply, De mand and the Industry Structure, ” Review of Economic Dynamics , March 2014, , with Barbara Petrongolo .

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