Women’s Economic Opportunities

The Economist Intelligence Unit has a report on women’s economic opportunities, indexing and ranking countries’ relative performance. Leo Abruzzese discusses the general issues over at VoxEU. Let us focus on Ireland.

Ireland ranks 16th out of 113 countries. Better than most, worse than some. We cannot afford to hold back part of the workforce. Increasing productivity is one way of getting Ireland back on its feet.

Here are the factors that are keeping Ireland’s women down:

* Provisions for maternity and paternity leave

* Legal restrictions on job types

* De facto discrimination at work

* Access to child care

* Access to credit

* Adolescent fertility rate

* Non-ratification of the convention against all forms of non-discrimination against women

None of these issues were raised in the latest report on the Smart Economy. Making better use of existing resources is, apparently, not smart.

Heckman Policy Website

James Heckman’s work on human capital investment has been prolific over the last number of years and has major implications for a wide range of policy areas. His papers are rarely easy reading, drawing from detailed structural econometric models that he has developed over several years with colleagues. A new website outlines his basic ideas in short and accessible videos and documents (h/t Colm Harmon who is one of a number of colleagues in UCD working on this area in Ireland). This is as close as it gets to a clear answer to a major question in Economics and is essential for any policy people who read this blog across fields such as health, education, social policy, criminal justice and a range of other fields. Heckman has emphasised rigorously designed and evaluated early childhood interventions that promote a broad range of skills and personal development.

Rising US inequality

Edward Luce has a really good piece on this much-studied phenomenon here.