February 2024

IZA DP No. 16820: The Gendered Nature of the Cost-of-Living Crisis in Europe

This paper investigates the gendered effects of the cost-of-living crisis on households across six European countries using household consumption data linked to price changes between April 2021 and July 2023. It examines how different consumption patterns between male- and female-headed households influence their exposure to inflation. Exploring the full distribution of inflation rates, employing quantile regressions and a decomposition approach, this research uncovers gender-specific disparities in inflation exposure and inequality. Going beyond the immediate economic index adjustments, it also evaluates the welfare changes attributable to inflation by estimate a behaviourally-adjusted welfare effect of the cost-of-living crisis. Building on the foundational Atkinson welfare measure, this paper innovates by decomposing the change in welfare into equity and efficiency components, differentially for male- and female-headed households. This contribution enriches the consumption literature by providing a detailed gendered analysis of inflation's distributional and welfare effects, aiding policymakers in addressing the nuanced challenges of the cost-of-living crisis.