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Gender and the business cycle: An analysis of labour markets in the US and UK

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-146
JournalJournal of Macroeconomics
Issue numberPart B
Early online date4 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


Starting from an improved understanding of the relationship between gender labour market stocks and the business cycle, we analyse the contributing role of flows in the US and UK. Focusing on the post 2008 recession period, the subsequent greater rise in male unemployment can mostly be explained by a less cyclical response of flows between employment and unemployment for women, especially the entry into unemployment. Across gender and country, the inactivity rate is generally not sensitive to the state of the economy. However, a flows based analysis reveals a greater importance of the participation margin over the cycle. Changes in the ratesof flow between unemployment and inactivity can each account for around 0.8-1.1 percentage points of the rise in US male and female unemployment rates during the latest downturn. For the UK, although the participation flow to unemployment similarly contributed to the increase of the female unemployment rate, this was not the case for men. The counter cyclical flow rate from inactivity to employment was also more significant for women, especially in the US, where it accounted for approximately all of the fall in employment, compared with only 40% for men.

    Research areas

  • gender, The Great Recession, unemployment, participation, worker flows

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