Denmark gender estimate of the day

by on January 24, 2018 at 3:00 am in Data Source, Economics | Permalink

Based on a dynamic decomposition framework, we show that the fraction of gender inequality caused by child penalties has increased dramatically over time, from about 40% in 1980 to about 80% in 2013.

The underlying paper is by Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais, and Jakob Egholt Søgaard.

1 Alex FG January 24, 2018 at 3:21 am

So the feminist action here is to stop shaming men for this but to considering mothers (their owns and others) as culprits?

Reply

2 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 3:26 am

So in order words gender equality is an impossible dream. Short of artificial wombs coming along – and even then it is more likely that women would take time off to spend at home with their sprogs – there is nothing that will result in women being paid the same as men except the Shaker solution. Which is unlikely to work out well for any of us.

So Jordan Peterson is right. All his critics – and in particular the woefully incompetent Cathy Newman – are wrong.

Reply

3 Boonton January 24, 2018 at 11:06 am

Most jobs a woman can work right up to, let’s say month 8, of pregnancy. Let’s say after birth mothers stay home 6 months so the total is 7. That’s a wildly generous figure in the US where 12 weeks is probably near the high end.

Now some jobs at the very top might be so competitive that even taking a month off will put you behind. Perhaps those fast tracking for limited partner slots as top law firms might be in such a race.

But this is confusing TV jobs with the jobs most people have. Reality check, most jobs are nowhere near that competitive nor would taking time off put one at a permanent disadvantage to coworkers. In fact the wage stagnation we’ve seen over the past few decades makes that point more, not less clear. If wages are stagnating, then there’s no clear gains to spending more and more time uninterrupted at any one job. In the service industry, many jobs have no such benefit once you are up and running (a waitress with 10 years under her belt is not obviously better than a waitress who worked 6 years, took 3 off and then returns).

Reply

4 Alistair January 25, 2018 at 7:45 am

Badly parsed. Why would any employer want to take on ANY risk with an employee?

And if the wages are stagnating, then labour is WEAKER and disadvantages more acute. The supply of low and medium skill clerical jobs mothers compete for has shrunk badly. Having a baby has serious opportunity costs.

Reply

5 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 3:50 am

Would be more interesting to see how that works in Sweden, where male parental leave is increasing – ‘Today, men in Sweden take nearly a quarter of all parental leave – a figure the government hopes to improve.’ https://sweden.se/society/10-things-that-make-sweden-family-friendly/

Reply

6 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 4:15 am

Or more accurately, in Sweden the government is committed to forcing men to take time off work by penalizing both parents if they do not use their paternity leave. Indeed their long-term goal is to divide all parental leave into two equal sections and make men and women take a half each.

How will this work? Of course we know how this will work. It won’t. Women want to stay at home. Men want to work. But choice is irrelevant to the modern feminist. To more old school feminists too. As Simone de Beauvoir said

“No, we don’t believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorised to stay at home to bring up her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction.”

Reply

7 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 4:48 am

‘Or more accurately, in Sweden the government is committed to forcing men to take time off work by penalizing both parents if they do not use their paternity leave.’

Not precisely, but reading links is not really your strength – ‘In Sweden’s efforts to achieve gender equality, each parent is entitled to 240 of the 480 days of paid parental leave. Each parent has 90 days reserved exclusively for him or her. Should a father – or a mother for that matter – decide not to take them, they cannot be transferred to the partner.’

Of course, I realize that a surprising number of Americans find it a nightmarish situation to have 90 paid free days in their lives, especially when they have an infant or small child to raise. Of course, trying to explain that American reality to Europeans is generally met with blank incomprehension.

Reply

8 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 5:17 am

Actually precisely. You simply do not understand the policy you are commenting on. What you are describing is exactly what I said.

Reply

9 Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 5:34 am

Depend of what we mean by “penalizing” – if we pass from a situation where the mother and the father have fully transferable 2X days of parental leave to a situation where each of them have X non-transferable days of parental leave, they are penalized compared with the former situation; but if the base situation is only the mother having X days of parental leave, or no paid parental leave at all, does not seems to be any penalization.

10 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 5:40 am

Did you miss the part that an exclusive 90 days is the same for both mother and father? In other words, the Swedish policy ‘forces’ both mothers and fathers to take at least 90 paid days off, as that is the amount of paid time that cannot be transferred.

In other words, the Swedish government forces both parents, in terms of that 90 days, to be involved in taking care of a child. Or to put it in your terms (with a couple of changes), ‘in Sweden the government is committed to forcing women to take time off work by penalizing both parents if they do not use their maternity leave.’

11 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 5:42 am

Yes, it does mean what I mean by penalize. From the Economist:

In 1995 the first so-called “daddy month” was introduced. Under this reform, families in which each parent took at least one month of leave received an additional month to add to their total allowance. The policy was expanded in 2002 so that if the mother and father each took at least two months’ leave, the family would get two extra months. Some politicians now want to go further, proposing that the current system of shared leave be turned into one of individual entitlements, under which mothers should be allowed to take only half of the family’s total allowance, with the rest reserved for fathers.

So originally if the man took a month of paternity leave, one of them got an extra month. That was not enough so if the man takes two months (or now three months), the two of them would get two (and then three) extra months. Or to put it another way, if the husband chose to work and not take the leave, the family would be penalized by losing 90 days of paid maternity leave.

Now, as Prior pointed out, “each parent is entitled to 240 of the 480 days of paid parental leave”. Which is to say, if the husband insists on working, they will lose 240 days of paid leave. This is a clever policy but it is really about a series of carrots and sticks to produce the desired social outcome. It is not about choice at all.

12 Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 5:49 am

“This is a clever policy but it is really about a series of carrots and sticks to produce the desired social outcome. It is not about choice at all.”

From what I understand, seems only carrots, not carrots and sticks – they are not taking anything from the families that not split equally the parental leave, only giving additional things to the families that split equally.

13 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 6:41 am

It is only carrots – if you want to take paid time off, well, you can take paid time off. Otherwise, you do not take paid time off. Apart from 90 days paid leave exclusive to each parent, which is not transferable to the other parent.

Since he is still not actually reading what comes from this website – ‘Welcome to the official site of Sweden. Discover the facts and stories of our country.’ – below is the full explanation.

‘In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. This number is super high by international standards (see the infographic below) and is perhaps Sweden’s most famous argument when it comes to being a child-friendly system.

For 390 of the days, parents are entitled to nearly 80 per cent of their normal pay. Benefits are calculated on a maximum monthly income of SEK 37,083, as of 2015. The remaining 90 days are paid at a flat rate. Those who are not in employment are also entitled to paid parental leave.

Parental leave can be taken up until a child turns eight. The leave entitlement applies to each child (except in the case of multiple births), so parents can accumulate leave from several children.

———————————

In Sweden’s efforts to achieve gender equality, each parent is entitled to 240 of the 480 days of paid parental leave. Each parent has 90 days reserved exclusively for him or her. Should a father – or a mother for that matter – decide not to take them, they cannot be transferred to the partner.’

I believe he is still not grasping that only 90 days of 240 are not transferrable (you know, that ‘reserved exclusively for him or her’). Because this statement is simply incorrect – ‘Which is to say, if the husband insists on working, they will lose 240 days of paid leave.’ What happens instead is if the mother insists on working, she loses the chance to use her exclusive 90 days of paid leave. Of course, it is completely possible to not take any paid parental leave – there is no stick after all. He also seems to be missing the fact that the parental leave law is for parents, and does not make a distinction between one parent or the other.

(In all fairness, it seems from that web site that Sweden has no ‘Mutterschutz’ on the German model – it is illegal for an employed German mother to work for 2 weeks before the anticipated date of birth, and 8 weeks following the actual birth, while receiving full pay – https://www.howtogermany.com/pages/maternity_protection.html )

14 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 7:02 am

And to explain a bit further (though drawing on German experience in terms of explaining the apparently clear Swedish text). Each parent is legally entitled to take 240 paid days off from work. It is not possible for an employer to insist that a parent must start working again after 90 days off, for example, as each parent is fully entitled to take 240 days off to raise their child.

However, apart from the 90 days paid days exclusive to each parent, it is possible to transfer parental leave time, and for the father to take 390 days off from work.

One would have assumed this was easy to understand, but then, it would actually involve having some experience in the last couple of decades of how parental leave works in a place like Germany, when reading a Swedish web site designed to explain life in Sweden.

Of course, it would be great to have a Swedish reader weigh in..

15 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 5:49 am

They are taking the bonus months away. If the husband takes three months, the wife gets another three months. If he doesn’t, they don’t. This is penalty. After all, who pays for this “free” paid leave?

11 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 6:41 am

Yet again you do not understand the policy you are criticizing. You have not even read your own sources.

I believe he is still not grasping that only 90 days of 240 are not transferrable (you know, that ‘reserved exclusively for him or her’). Because this statement is simply incorrect – ‘Which is to say, if the husband insists on working, they will lose 240 days of paid leave.’

No, you still have not got the basic facts right. If he takes leave, they get extra days. If he chooses not to take leave, they lose his days – perhaps all 240 of them – but she also loses her bonus months. This has been explained to you and it is not hard to grasp. Why are you wasting bandwidth?

16 Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 7:44 am

“They are taking the bonus months away”

They are taking the bonus months away to families who don’t split the parental leave, or they are giving extra bonus months to the families that split the parental leave? And no, it is not the same thing (in the first case, the families that not split the parental leave becomes worst with the new rules, in the second not).

“After all, who pays for this «free» paid leave?”

The public at large (including taxpayers without children), I imagine (I confess that I don’t know if the parental leave in Sweden is payed by the State – like in Portugal – or by the employer).

17 clockwork_prior January 24, 2018 at 8:02 am

‘If he takes leave, they get extra days.’

You really aren’t interested in what that official Swedish web site says, are you? First, it is not a matter of ‘he’ – both parents each have a total of 90 non-transferrable days of paid leave that only they can take. Apart from those reserved days, they may split their parental leave as they see fit – or not use it all, of course. Or use it at the same time – at least in Germany, so that both parents can stay home.

‘If he chooses not to take leave, they lose his days – perhaps all 240 of them – but she also loses her bonus months.’

And yet a web site that is ‘an official source for facts about Sweden’ disagrees with you, and the article you did not bother to link to – https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/07/economist-explains-15 – actually disagrees with you too. Though it does support the idea that Sweden and Germany do have comparable models – ‘Germany amended its parental-leave scheme in 2007 along Swedish lines, and within two years the share of fathers who took paid leave jumped from 3% to over 20%.’

In the past, the laws concerned paid maternity leaves, with fathers having no right to parental leave. Now, in Sweden and in Germany, they concern parental leave. It seems as if you simply cannot grasp this.

It also sounds as if you have absolutely no experience of how such things work in practice, nor any ability to understand what a Swedish web site is trying to explain about parental leave in Sweden as it works today, as compared to an Economist article explaining the starting point of the reforms of the Swedish parental leave process back in 1995.

18 andy January 24, 2018 at 10:41 am

Clockwork_prior: so the government takes moeny from the parents (by taxing them in the future) and when they have a child, it returns them the money.

So you have 2 options:

– here is the money (‘holidays’), use it as you wish
– here is the money (‘holidays’), but if you don’t get both 90 days leave, you get less of it

I’d say that is actually punishing them for not doing what the government wants. And if you want to argue that it’s not their money that is redistributed, than I wonder if the conclusion is that whatever strings are attached to this redistributed money, you are free to reject it, therefore it’s voluntary. But you are not free to reject being taxed, so…

19 Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 11:01 am

“so the government takes moeny from the parents (by taxing them in the future) and when they have a child, it returns them the money.”

But it is not only the parents (or, more exactly the parents who are also employees) who pay taxes; people without children also pay taxes; people who live from capital incomes (and don’t need to take parental leave) also pay taxes, etc. – you can indeed say that the government is “forcing” them to split the parental leave in the same way that the government is “forcing” them to take a parental leave (because they can’t choose pay less taxes and don’t take the parental leave), or indeed forcing them to have children (because they only receive the money back – in the form of “time” – if they have children).

20 John Thacker January 24, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Sure, but it’s worth noting that despite all that, Sweden, like other Nordic countries, has just as much gender inequality when it comes to the short, medium, and long term effects of having children, and as much gender inequality in the types of jobs (including subject matter, public vs private, etc.) as the US.

You’ve correctly pointed out that Sweden, like Denmark, does a whole lot in this area. Note that the original paper on the post is on the subject of Denmark. Is your point that all these family friendly and gender equality policies still do very little to change which parent sacrifices career earnings for family flexibility?

Reply

21 John Thacker January 24, 2018 at 12:20 pm

If the original study were of the US, or if you could point to a difference in the result between the US and countries with the policies you favor, that would make a different point, perhaps the one you believe you to be making.

(Part of the US difference may very well be involvement of relatives and the community, especially religious communities, outside state provided support.)

22 John Thacker January 24, 2018 at 12:22 pm

In other words, it’s possible that there’s crowding out of private communal and family arrangements with the rise of publicly funded (whether voucher, subsidy, or direct state provisioning.)

Culture is quite important.

23 Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 5:43 am

“Women want to stay at home. Men want to work.”

My impression is that, in the real world, women want to work and men want to go to the pub or to play videogames (probably because most of the jobs in the modern world are more similar to picking fruits – requiring regularity, attention to detail, etc. – than to hunting large mammals, or the neighbor tribe – requiring taking decisions, improvising “on foot”, and long moments of inactivity combined with short moments of extreme activity)

Reply

24 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 7:34 am

So that pesky pay gap is solved then. After all, according to you, men are not working longer, doing more over time, choosing more career oriented subjects, etc etc etc.

Excellent news.

Reply

25 Hwite January 24, 2018 at 8:49 am

+1

26 DevOps Dad January 24, 2018 at 4:03 pm

“Women want to stay at home (with the kids). Men want to work”

In the past, evolutionary pressures probably dictated these gender wants for survival, well for those living north or south of Earth’s 35th parallel anyway. After 60,000 to 100,000 years of selection, I suspect the last thing a husband would want would be hang around the home during daylight hours. Sweden’s male parental leave law may be decidedly at odds with many guys’ natures.

Reply

27 daguix January 24, 2018 at 4:06 am

It looks like a good news if the other causes of gender inequality have been reduced.

Reply

28 Axa January 24, 2018 at 4:59 am

Exactly.This is great news.

Prejudices like “women can’t lead”, low hanging fruit kind of problems, are disappearing. What stays is the hardest problem to crack: children rearing. Anyway, a great improvement.

Reply

29 Miguel Madeira January 24, 2018 at 5:26 am

It will be interesting to know how the gender inequality changed in that period; it is different :

– “In 1980, men earned more 40% than women, being 16% child penality, and 1993 men earned 20% more than women, being 16% child penalty”

– “In 1980 men earned more 20% than women, being 8% child penalty, and in 1993 men earned 20% more than woman, being 16% child penalty”

– “In 1980, mean earned more 50% than women, being 20% child penalty, and in 1993 men earned 20% more than woman, being 16% child penalty”

Reply

30 John Thacker January 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm

You can read the paper to find the answer to that, like in Figure 9. It is close to your first example (looking at the graph rather than a table). In 1980, the overall penalty was 45%, of which 19% was child penalty. In 2014, the overall penalty was about 25%, of which 19% was child penalty.

The paper notes that the penalty 0-10 years after childbirth is unchanged from 1980; the big change is in 11-20 years from childbirth.

Reply

31 John Thacker January 24, 2018 at 12:28 pm

They then further break down the non child penalty into a “women having less education” penalty (which has decreased massively) and a residual (“stuff our model doesn’t explain”) which has also decreased massively.

Reply

32 Alistair January 25, 2018 at 7:54 am

So, judging by the residuals, the paper implies that most sexism has _already_ been fixed? And that the remaining pay gap is nearly all child effects?

I’m totally unsurprised.

Reply

33 rayward January 24, 2018 at 6:09 am

The period studied, 1980-2013, is also the period of the China miracle (i.e., globalization), which greatly diminished opportunities for men and I would assume also for women (except in places like China), maybe more so for women since women were newer to the workplace. It was also the period of rapidly rising inequality, which in developed countries shifted opportunities from some occupations (manufacturing) to others (banking), maybe benefiting men (who might be more likely to be bankers) relative to women (who might be less likely to be bankers). And, of course, the period includes the worst financial and economic crisis in generations. My point is that the period studied was very dynamic, with large disruptions in the workplace, and the economy generally, that might affect gender equality/inequality.

Reply

34 chrisare January 24, 2018 at 7:05 am

Child rearing and a socially optimum fertility rate are public goods. Their cost should be borne publically.

Reply

35 So Much For Subtlety January 24, 2018 at 7:35 am

Child rearing by some parents are public goods. For the others, their costs are being borne by the public.

Is this a path you want to go down?

Reply

36 Alistair January 25, 2018 at 7:56 am

Ooh! Ooh! I want to go down it! I want! I want!

Reply

37 Adyn January 24, 2018 at 8:02 am

I was wondering if there could be other factors at play:
– large global population growth
– more people getting college degrees
– slower increase in jobs that have larger salary

These three factors together would lead to environment with large pool of candidates that are easily replacable. In such environments even slight differences in perceived contribution would be multiplied by corporate recruitment and promotion process.

Reply

38 blah January 24, 2018 at 8:09 am

The abstract of the paper is about the *fraction* of gender inequality caused by child-rearing. Doesn’t say whether the absolute contribution to gender inequality from child-rearing has increased or decreased.

But it wouldn’t be surprising if it increased: the complexity of child-rearing just keeps increasing, and no one ever talks of making it simpler, perhaps because it is just so hard to come up with ideas.

Reply

39 John Thacker January 24, 2018 at 12:29 pm

The paper itself does say. The percentage penalty due to child rearing is extraordinarily stable throughout the entire period.

Reply

40 blah January 24, 2018 at 9:24 pm

Thanks.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: