NTA2020 Istenic

Global Meeting on Population and the Generational Economy, August 2020

Presentation: Tanja Istenic, Joze Sambt, Is the increased woman's labour market participation an appropriate measure for improving public sector sustainability


One of the strategies that could already in the short run reduce the negative consequences of population ageing on the sustainability of the public system, is the increased ability of the working-age population to support others – i.e. by increasing the life cycle surplus (LCS). Past NTA research for the European countries shows that the size of the LCS is particularly high in countries where women’s contribution to the total LCS is also high. In particular, in those countries the women’s labour market employment rates are higher than in other countries. Therefore, promoting women’s labour market participation can be a measure to increase the sustainability of the public system (Sambt, Istenič & Hammer, 2017). However, we claim that increased women’s labour market participation is an effective measure only in countries in which the contribution of women compared to men remains low even after inclusion of monetary values of unpaid household work. This applies, for example, to Germany, the UK, Estonia, and Poland. On the other hand, this measure is problematic in countries where the overall contribution of women is high, especially in Lithuania and Slovenia, but also Finland, Italy, and Spain. In these countries, the work load of women is already high, therefore a higher women participation in the labour market would probably lead to less time spent on unpaid household labour or squeeze out their leisure time. Because traditional patterns of division of labour between men and women within the households can hardly change in the short term, this measure can substantially decrease the welfare in such countries.

File: NTA2020 Istenic

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