Sex-Disaggregated Employment and Public Spending in China

Tabitha Knight


This paper econometrically analyses the relationship between public spending and women’s and men’s urban employment in China for the period 1999–2009. Theoretically, spending on healthcare and education could increase employment growth and women’s relative employment via the expansion of paid care work (increasing labour demand) and reductions in unpaid labour (increasing labour supply). To empirically test this, female, male, and relative employment growth are estimated as functions of public spending while both demand-side and supply-side factors are controlled for. Economic growth is also included in a simultaneous equation estimation. While healthcare results are mixed, education spending is positively associated with economic growth, employment growth for both women and men, and women’s relative urban employment. Using economic significance calculations, I describe how well-directed public policies can promote both economic growth and long- and short-run benefits in employment equality between the sexes.

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