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Islam, Asif M.

Development Economics, Enterprise Analysis Group
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Development Economics, Enterprise Analysis Group
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Last updated April 6, 2023
Citations 48 Scopus

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 15
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    Are There More Female Managers in the Retail Sector? Evidence from Survey Data in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-04) Amin, Mohammad ; Islam, Asif
    This paper uses firm-level data for 87 developing countries to analyze how the likelihood of a firm having female vs. male top manager varies across sectors. The service sector is often considered to be more favorable toward women compared with men vis-à-vis the manufacturing sector. Although the exploration of the data confirms a significantly higher presence of female managers in services vs. manufacturing, the finding is entirely driven by retail firms, with little contribution from other service sectors, such as wholesale, construction, and other services. The analysis also finds that the higher presence of female managers in the retail sector vs. manufacturing is much higher among the relatively small firms and firms located in the relatively small cities. These findings could serve as useful inputs for the design of optimal policy measures aimed at promoting gender equality in a country.
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    Women Managers and the Gender-Based Gap in Access to Education: Evidence from Firm-Level Data in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-05) Amin, Mohammad ; Islam, Asif
    Several studies explore the differences in men’s and women’s labor market participation rates and wages. Some of these differences have been linked to gender disparities in education attainment and access. The present paper contributes to this literature by analyzing the relationship between the proclivity of a firm to have a female top manager and access to education among women relative to men in the country. The paper combines the literature on women’s careers in management, which has mostly focused on developed countries, with the development literature that has emphasized the importance of access to education. Using firm-level data for 73 developing countries, the analysis finds strong evidence that countries with a higher proportion of female top managers also have higher enrollment rates for women relative to men in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
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    Does Mandating Nondiscrimination in Hiring Practices Influence Women's Employment? Evidence Using Firm-level Data
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-02-26) Amin, Mohammad ; Islam, Asif
    This study explores the relationship between mandating a nondiscrimination clause in hiring practices along gender lines and the employment of women versus men in fifty-eight developing countries. Using data from the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys (2006–10), the study finds a strong positive relationship between the nondiscrimination clause and women's relative to men's employment. The relationship is robust to a large number of controls at the firm and country level. Results also show sharp heterogeneity in the relationship between the nondiscrimination clause and women's versus men's employment, with the relationship being much bigger in richer countries and in countries with more women in the population as well as among relatively smaller firms.
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    Women Managers and the Gender-Based Gap in Access to Education: Evidence from Firm-Level Data in Developing Countries
    (Taylor and Francis, 2015-10-06) Islam, Asif ; Amin, Mohammad
    A number of studies explore the differences in men's and women's labor market participation rates and wages. Some of these differences have been linked to gender disparities in education access and attainment. The present paper contributes to this literature by analyzing the relationship between the proclivity of a firm having a top woman manager and access to education among women relative to men in the country. The study combines the literature on women's careers in management, which has mostly focused on developed countries, with the development literature that has emphasized the importance of access to education. Using firm-level data for seventy-three developing countries in 2007–10, the study finds strong evidence that countries with a higher proportion of top women managers also have higher enrollment rates for women relative to men in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
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    Does Paternity Leave Matter for Female Employment in Developing Economies?: Evidence from Firm Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Amin, Mohammad ; Islam, Asif ; Sakhonchik, Alena
    For a sample of 53 developing countries, the results show that women's employment among private firms is significantly higher in countries that mandate paternity leave versus those that do not. A conservative estimate suggests an increase of 6.8 percentage points in the proportion of women workers associated with the mandating of paternity leave.
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    Unequal before the Law: Measuring Legal Gender Disparities across the World
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-08) Iqbal, Sarah ; Islam, Asif ; Ramalho, Rita ; Sakhonchik, Alena
    Several economies have laws that treat women differently from men. This study explores the degree of such legal gender disparities across 167 economies around the world. This is achieved by constructing a simple measure of legal gender disparities to evaluate how countries perform. The average number of overall legal gender disparities across 167 economies is 17, ranging from a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 44. The maximum possible legal gender disparities is 71. The measure is found to be correlated with other measures of gender inequality, implying the measure does capture gender inequality while also differing from preexisting measures of gender inequality. A high degree of legal gender disparities is found to be negatively associated with a wide range of outcomes, including years of education of women relative to men, labor force participation rates of women relative to men, proportion of women top managers, proportion of women in parliament, percentage of women that borrowed from a financial institution relative to men, and child mortality rates. Subcategories within the legal disparities measure help to uncover specific types of legal disparities across economies.
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    Middle East and North Africa Economic Update, April 2020: How Transparency Can Help the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-04-09) Arezki, Rabah ; Lederman, Daniel ; Abou Harb, Amani ; El-Mallakh, Nelly ; Fan, Rachel Yuting ; Islam, Asif ; Nguyen, Ha ; Zouaidi, Marwane
    Due to the dual shocks of the spread of the virus and lower oil prices, World Bank economists expect output of MENA to decline in 2020. This is in sharp contrast to the growth forecast of 2.6 percent published in October 2019. The growth downgrade of 3.7 percentage points is arguably a measure for the costs associated with the dual shocks of Covid-19 and the oil price collapse. These numbers are tentative. The true impact depends on future developments of the dual shocks, policy and society’s response, which depends on the transparent use of health and economic data. We recommend a two-step approach: It might be desirable to focus first on responding to the health emergency and the associated economic contraction. Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms associated with the persistent drop in oil prices and pre-existing challenges are also very important, but with proper external support, can wait until the health emergency subsides. Nevertheless, the MENA region has challenges that predate the crisis – it has been growing far slower than its peers. Had MENA’s growth of output per capita been the same as that of a typical peer economy over the past two decades, the region’s real output per capita would be at least 20% higher than what it is today. A large part of MENA’s low growth is arguably due to a lack of transparency. MENA is the only region that dropped in data transparency and capacity since 2005. We estimate that this has cost MENA 7-14 percent in GDP per capita losses since 2005. Lack of transparency hinders credible analyses of many important issues, two of which are highlighted in the report. First, lack of data transparency hampers credible analyses on the region’s debt sustainability – an important issue to examine after the crisis. MENA countries vary greatly in their debt reporting standards. World Bank economists and other external analysts do not have access to vital information about many types of public debt. Second, the unemployment and informality numbers in the region are debatable since MENA countries rely on varying definitions of employment with little harmonization across the region or with respect to international standards. This affects analyses of unemployment and informality.
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    Unequal Laws and the Disempowerment of Women in the Labor Market: Evidence from Firm-Level Data
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-09) Islam, Asif ; Muzi, Silvia ; Amin, Mohammad
    Institutions are defined as the set of rules that govern human interactions. When these rules are discriminatory, they may disempower segments of a population in the economic spheres of activity. This study explores whether laws that discriminate against women influence their engagement in the economy. The study adopts a holistic approach, exploring an overall measure of unequal laws also known as legal gender disparities, and relates it to several labor market outcomes for women. Using data for more than 60,000 firms across 104 economies, the study finds that unequal laws not only discourage women's participation in the private sector workforce, but also their likelihood to become top managers and owners of firms. Suggestive evidence indicates that access to finance and corruption are pathways by which legal gender disparities disempower women in the labor market.
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    Paid Maternity Leave and Female Employment: Evidence Using Firm-Level Survey Data for Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-01) Amin, Mohammad ; Islam, Asif
    The relationship between the length of paid maternity leave and the proportion of female workers in the private sector is explored using firm-level survey data for 66 mostly developing countries. The paper finds a large, positive, and statistically significant relationship between the two. According to the most conservative estimate, an increase of one week of paid maternity leave is associated with a 2.6 percentage points increase in the share of workers in a typical firm that are female. As expected, the stated relationship is much larger when the government pays for maternity leave versus the employer. The results are robust to several controls for firm and country characteristics and other possible heterogeneities in the maternity leave and female workers relationship.
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    Gendered Laws, Informal Origins, and Subsequent Performance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-08) Hyland, Marie ; Islam, Asif
    This research explores the relationship between laws that discriminate on the basis of gender and the probability that a female-owned business begins operating in the informal sector. This is achieved by tracing the origins of formal businesses surveyed in the World Bank Enterprise Surveys and merging this with information on the level of legal equality between genders as measured by the Women, Business and the Law database. In addition, the research explores whether starting a business informally has any differential effect on subsequent firm performance depending on the gender of the owner(s). The results show that gender discriminatory laws increase the likelihood that firms with female owners will begin operations in the informal sector; as expected, this does not hold for enterprises that are solely owned by men. Furthermore, the research provides evidence that firms that began operations informally have poorer performance years later—a relationship that exists both for firms with female owners and for firms fully owned by men. The results show notable variation by region.