Unemployment scarring by gender: Human capital depreciation or stigmatization? Longitudinal evidence from the Netherlands, 1980-2000

Soc Sci Res. 2015 Jul;52:642-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.10.005. Epub 2014 Nov 8.


Using longitudinal data from the Dutch Labor Force Supply Panel (OSA), this article examines how unemployment scarring (i.e., wage setbacks following unemployment) and its underlying mechanisms operate across gender in the Netherlands over the period 1985-2000. A series of fixed effect panel models that correct for unobserved heterogeneity, reveal a notable disparity in unemployment scarring by gender. Interestingly, while unemployment scarring is short-lived and partly conditional upon human capital differences among women, it is strongly persistent among men and contingent upon old age, ethnicity, and tight economic conditions. Our findings provide new evidence regarding unemployment scarring by gender while they support the hypothesis that among women the effects of unemployment scarring are predominantly driven by human capital depreciation, while among men stigma effects dominate.

Keywords: Gender; Human capital depreciation; Stigma; Unemployment scarring; Wage inequality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Stigma*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stereotyping*
  • Unemployment*
  • Young Adult