The Gendered Consequences of Unemployment Insurance Reforms


This study examines whether a series of unemployment insurance benefit reforms that took place over a 20-year period in the Netherlands had a gendered effect on the duration of unemployment and labor market outcomes. Using longitudinal data from the Dutch Labor Supply Panel (OSA) over the period 1980–2000, and adopting a quasi-experimental design, we test whether seemingly ‘gender neutral’ institutional reforms result in a structural disadvantage for women in particular. Our results demonstrate a striking gender similarity in terms of shorter unemployment durations and ultimately less favorable labor market outcomes (lower occupational class, lower wage, part-time and temporary contracts) among both men and women affected by these reforms. Findings also indicate that disadvantaged groups (older and low-skilled female workers) are the most likely to experience a negative effect from state interventions. These findings provide support for the long-term gains of unemployment benefits and their role in operating as “bridges” to better employment.