Women's Economic Outcomes, Gender Inequality and Public Policy: Findings from the Luxembourg Income Study

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Janet C. Gornick

Janet C. Gornick

The Graduate Center / City University of New York; Luxembourg Income Study (LIS)

Date Written: MAY 2004


In the past two decades, many researchers have used the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) data to analyse women's economic status, or economic gender inequality, across the industrialized countries. Researchers concerned with labour market outcomes have concluded that: (i) women's labour market status lags men's in nearly every LIS country and time period; (ii) motherhood is a consequential factor nearly everywhere; while parenthood typically has little effect (or a positive effect) on men's employment rates and earnings, it weakens women's everywhere; (iii) against this backdrop of commonality, gendered outcomes vary dramatically across countries; and (iv) variation in policies, or policy packages, explains a substantial share of the observed variation in outcomes. Researchers focused on poverty have found that: (i) in several countries, post-tax-and-transfer poverty is more prevalent among women than men, mothers compared with fathers, and female-headed households relative to male-headed households; (ii) solo mothers everywhere face a heightened risk of low income and/or poverty, especially in the English-speaking countries; (iii) across the LIS countries, single elderly women are also at heightened risk, with the USA standing out as an extreme case; and (iv) cross-national variation in tax-and-transfer policies explains a large share of variation in post-tax-and-transfer income.

Keywords: women, gender inequality, public policy, comparative

JEL Classification: J16, J18

Suggested Citation

Gornick, Janet C., Women's Economic Outcomes, Gender Inequality and Public Policy: Findings from the Luxembourg Income Study (MAY 2004). Socio-Economic Review, Vol. 2, pp. 213-238, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=811440

Janet C. Gornick (Contact Author)

The Graduate Center / City University of New York ( email )

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