Melanie Khamis, assistant professor of economics and of Latin American studies, was named a fellow of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard Kennedy School for the 2018–2019 academic year.
In this fellowship, she hopes to continue and expand her research on “Gender in the Labor Market,” with a particular focus on the gender wage gap and occupational choices of women.
“I am excited to have this opportunity to join and work with a community of leading researchers in this field,” said Khamis.
According to its website, WAPPP is dedicated to closing “gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health and education by creating knowledge, training leaders and informing public policy and organizational practices.” The fellowship program brings in exceptional scholars to conduct gender-related research in one of these areas and to engage with faculty and students at Harvard Kennedy School, enriching the intellectual life of the center.
Melanie Khamis, assistant professor of economics and assistant professor of Latin American studies, has co-authored a new paper published in the December 2017 issue of Labour Economics. The paper, titled “Women make houses, women make homes,” examines the effects of historical labor market institutions and policies on women’s labor market outcomes.
To conduct the research, Khamis and her colleagues studied the “rubble women” of post–World War II Germany, who were subject to a 1946 Allied Control Council command that required women between the ages of 15 and 50 to register with a labor office and to participate in postwar cleanup and reconstruction.
The study showed that this mandatory employment had persistent longstanding adverse effects on German women’s overall participation in the labor market. Possible reasons for this include physical and mental exhaustion associated with the demanding manual labor involved in removing war debris; an increase in postwar marriage and fertility rates; and a reversion to traditional gender roles as men returned from war.
The findings highlight how important it is for countries—especially those recovering from conflict—to develop labor market institutions and policies that support women’s participation in the workforce. In addition, the paper concludes, “Our results also provide suggestive evidence that work-contingent income support programs may have limited positive effects on female future labor market outcomes and welfare dependency unless such policies are further backed up by the provision of quality child care and labor market institutions at large.”
Melanie Khamis, assistant professor of economics, assistant professor of Latin American studies, attended the Informality and Development Conference in Honor of Elinor Ostrom held at Indiana University on Oct. 22-23.
Khamis, co-authored two papers presented at the conference including “Migration and the Informal Sector,” and “Risk Attitudes, Informal Employment and Wages: Evidence from a Transition Country.”
The conference was organized by faculty from Cornell University and Indiana University. It centered around the study of informality, the part of an economy that is neither taxed not monitored by any form of government—a subject area where Professor Ostrom, the first and only woman to have won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009, has had a major influence. The goal of the conference was to honor the memory and the legacy of Ostrom by exploring informality from both economic and interdisciplinary perspectives.