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Sex and the Business Cycle

Wall, Howard J. (2018): Sex and the Business Cycle.

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Abstract

This paper estimates the differences between the sexes in the depths, lengths, timing, and overall effects of recessions in the United States. I find that, prior to the mid-1980s, recessions had roughly the same effects on male and female employment growth, but that male employment stayed in recession for longer. Since then, however, recessions have hit male employment much harder per month, although female employment suffered longer recessions. Accounting for the sex-specific timing of recessions, as well as for forgone employment growth, (1) the negative effects of recessions on both male and female employment are much larger than is usually found and (2) male employment is hit relatively harder by recessions, although the difference between the sexes is much smaller than the previous literature indicates.

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