Capitalism and women

by on July 20, 2004 at 7:41 am in Economics | Permalink

Here’s a graph I put together for another purpose showing two United Nations development indicators, the gender development index which looks at life expectancy, literacy, and earned income with penalities when these are distributed unequally and the gender empowerment index which looks at the number of women with parliamentary seats, shares of women who are senior officials and managers, and female and male estimated earned income again corrected for gender inequality. The gender indices are graphed against the Economic Freedom Index which looks at the size of government, protection of property rights, marginal tax rates, mean tarrif rates, the ease of starting a new business and other such factors.

Both indicators increase strongly with economic freedom. Capitalism is good for women. Correlation doesn’t imply causation, of course, and causality, if it exists, could run from economic freedom to women’s development from women’s development to capitalism or a third factor could cause both – probably all three processes are involved to some extent. Nevertheless, at a minimum the graph indicates that capitalism and gender development are compatible contrary to many radicals. It’s interesting that no country with the high levels of economic freedom has a low score on either index. The graph actually underestimates the relationship between freedom and women’s development because there are many countries, Gambia for example, with incomplete data and we can be pretty sure that these countries have low economic freedom and low gender development.

gender

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