Monday, 22 June 2009

Localisation of spillovers of gender equality, by component

A recent post here looked at whether gender equality spills over international borders, where equality is measured by the UN's gender empowerment measure. The finding was that it does a little, but the effects fall off quickly with distance. National income and other factors are much more important than international spillovers.

Today, I split up the measure into its components: the percent of seats in parliament held by women, the percent of professional and technical workers who are female, and the percent of professional and technical workers who are female. The GEM measure corrects for the proportion of the population who are female, whereas the plain components I use do not. Then the same estimations were run as in the previous post. The table shows the results.

The spillovers from international equality are weak for the components. The strongest spillover is among levels of equality in professional and technical work, perhaps because the factors embodying business institutions are more substitutable across countries than the factors embodying parliamentary institutions - a businessperson may find it easier to be a businessperson in a neighbouring country than a parliamentary representative would to switch parliaments, for example.

The explanatory power of the component regressions drops sharply compared with the full GEM model. Only parliamentary representation is explained to any extent by the model. Part of the drop is probably due to the correction for female proportions in the full GEM measures. A bigger part is plausibly caused by the weak correlation of the three components across countries. A country with a high professional equality has almost no tendency to increased parliamentary or legislative equality. Equality in one country in one component of the GEM may be related to equality in a different component in a different country.

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