What explains gender gaps in wellbeing?

A new GLO Discussion Paper finds wellbeing gender gaps in South Africa are explained mainly by gender differences in endowments.

The Global Labor Organization (GLO) is an independent, non-partisan and non-governmental organization that functions as an international network and virtual platform to stimulate global research, debate and collaboration.

GLO Discussion Paper No. 472, 2020

Women’s optimism, the gender happiness equaliser: a case of South AfricaDownload PDF
Greyling, Talita & Fisher, Bianca

GLO Fellow Talita Greyling

Author Abstract: This paper investigates whether there is co-movement in subjective wellbeing (swb) gender gaps and objective wellbeing (owb) gender gaps over time and whether swb gender gaps are caused by gender differences in endowments or by the different ways men and women value the pre-mentioned. This is important, as global goals and national policy focus on the improvement of owb gender equality, ignoring the importance of swb gender equality. We use the NIDS dataset, comparing 2008 and 2017 data, and employ the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition method in the analysis. We find i) the trends in owband swb gender gaps are unrelated and ii) the swb gender gaps are explained mainly by gender differences in endowments, but in 2017, due to women’s “optimism”, notwithstanding their lower levels of endowments, the swb between genders was equalised. These results indicate the need for a swb gender equality policy.

GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS,  EconPapers)Complete list of all GLO DPs – downloadable for free.


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