March 2015

IZA DP No. 8948: Man-cessions, Fiscal Policy, and the Gender Composition of Employment

In recessions, predominantly men lose their jobs, which has given rise to the term "man-cessions". We analyze whether fiscal expansions bring men back into jobs. To do so, we estimate vector-autoregressive models and identify the effects of fiscal shocks and non-fiscal shocks on the gender composition of employment. We show that contractionary non-fiscal shocks lead to man-cessions, i.e. employment falls and more strongly so for men. By contrast, an expansionary fiscal shock predominantly raises the employment of women. Taken together, these results imply a trade-off dilemma for policy that seeks to stabilize the level of employment along with its composition.