Introduction: In the old mainstream macroeconomics, gender is often completely absent, either as a variable, or as driving certain institutions, or as underlying the gender division of labour between the paid and unpaid economy, whereas the unpaid economy is often completely ignored in macroeconomic analyses. At most, gender is included as exogenous through a sex disaggregated variable such as male and female labour force participation. For example, various analyses on EU economic growth in relation to an increasing dependency ratio due to the aging population, the relatively low female labour force participation rate has been identified as a constraint on economic growth and financial sustainability of pension systems. Alternatively, some macroeconomic analyses may point at unequal impacts of macroeconomic phenomena on men and women, for example studies that have shown that cheap labour export strategies of developing countries have generated more employment for women as compared to men, because the kind of industries that have relocated to these countries are typically female intensive industries (textiles, garments, microelectronics assembly). But, the far majority of macroeconomics completely ignores gender, whereas studies that do try to take gender into account do so often in a rather limited way, treating gender as an exogenous or a social impact variable.

Erasmus University Rotterdam
ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

van Staveren, I.P. (2010). From Gender as an Exogenous or Impact Variable to Gender as an Endogenous Force in the New Economics. ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from