The purpose of this paper is to explain relations between socioeconomic factors and gender longevity gap and to test a number of contradicting theories.
Fixed effects models are used for cross-country panel data analysis.
The authors show that in developed countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and European Union) a lower gender longevity gap is associated with a higher real GDP per capita, a higher level of urbanization, lower income inequality, lower per capita alcohol consumption and a better ecological environment. An increase in women’s aggregate unemployment rate and a decline in men’s unemployment are associated with a higher gap in life expectancies. There is also some evidence that the effect of the share of women in parliaments has a U-shape; it has a better descriptive efficiency if taken with a four-year lag, which approximately corresponds to the length of political cycles.
Findings are valid only for developed countries.
The findings are important for policy discussions, such as designs of pension schemes, gender-based taxation, ecological, urban, health and labor policy.
The factors that increase male and female longevities also reduce the gender longevity gap.
The results contradict to a number of studies for developing countries, which show that lower economic development and greater women discrimination result in a lower gender longevity gap.