No. 1 Gender Inequality, Income, and Growth: Are Good Times Good for Women?
By David Dollar and Roberta Gatti

The relative status of women is poor in the developing world, compared to developed countries. Increases in per capita income lead to improvements in different measures of gender equality, suggesting that there may be market failures hindering investment in girls in developing countries, and that these are typically overcome as development proceeds. Gender inequality in education and health can also be explained to a considerable extent by religious preference, regional factors, and civil freedom. These systematic patterns in gender differentials suggest that low investment in women is not an efficient economic choice, and we can show that gender inequality in education is bad for economic growth. Thus, societies that have a preference for not investing in girls pay a price for it in terms of slower growth and reduced income.

This paper is part of a series of papers on selected topics commissioned for the forthcoming Policy Research Report on Gender and Development.  The PRR is being carried out by Elizabeth King and Andrew Mason and co-sponsored by the World Bank’s Development Economics Research Group and the Gender and Development Group of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network. Printed copies of this paper are available free from the World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433. Please contact Owen Haaga, in room MC8-434 or at Gnetwork@worldbank.org. Comments are welcome and should be sent directly to the author(s) at ddollar@worldbank.org and rgatti@worldbank.org.

The full-length paper is available in PDF format.