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Gender and Economics Analysis in the Context of Policy Reform_Sreng Sopheap

Gender and Economics Analysis in the Context of Policy Reform_Sreng Sopheap

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Published by Sreng Sopheap
Article brings its introduction into the meso level analysis that it is more concern on how each structure would interfere or influence individual household economy which markets, private enterprises and public sectors as the major considerations into the economy
Article brings its introduction into the meso level analysis that it is more concern on how each structure would interfere or influence individual household economy which markets, private enterprises and public sectors as the major considerations into the economy

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Published by: Sreng Sopheap on Jun 06, 2010
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01/25/2013

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 Article Review
Elson, Diane (1994)
“Micro
, Meso, Macro: Gender and Economics Analysis in the
Context of Policy Reform” in I. Bakker (ed) The strategic Silence: Gender and
Economic Policy, London and Ottawa: Zed Books, pp. 93-104
 
Assignment to be submitted to
:
Dr. Yayoi
Sugihashi
Submitted on 26th June 2009School of Environment, Resources and Development,Gender and Development Studies,Asian Institute of Technology,Student Name: Sreng SopheapStudent ID: st107692
 
2
Summarize
Diane Elson (1994) provides in her analysis and critiques on economic policy reforms whichinclude micro, meso and macro economic. Micro and macro; however, traditionally were whateconomist used to focus on such as a division of supply and demand side and its connection between themicro and macro level with its gender neutral interaction considering individual economic agents as aunit of analysis. However, later the article brings its introduction into the meso level analysis that it ismore concern on how each structure would interfere or influence individual household economy whichmarkets, private enterprises and public sectors as the major considerations into the economy.In this article, Diane brings together the three levels of micro, meso and macro economics intodiscussion of policy reform as well as its effects on gender. She also offers some feministmethodologies which are useful in understanding these three level analyses. It will first summaryeconomic policy reform at micro, macro and meso in the neo-classical perspective. Second, it briefssome critiques of economic policy reform of these three levels in the perspectives of critical economicsand third is the feminist critical economics and the critique of economic policy reform, which will belater followed a discussion and conclusion.As neo-classical economic perspective being introduced is actually a major economic of policyreform which solely reliance on the notions of self-regulating, free market, free choice of economicagents and self-interested individual to work towards meeting the supply and demand and utilities. Thisbelieves that as long as both supply and demand are free market, they will adjust and mediate throughsome mechanisms which soon will achieve general equilibrium; where supply and demand are satisfied.The satisfaction is of course followed by a notion that each economic agent is rational and voluntarilywith some market mechanisms aim to utilize the most available resources and with a theory of Paretooptimality where the result of such an economic interaction should not let anyone be made better off without someone else being made worse off (p.34)The neo-classical economics which the micro, macro and meso are very much inter-related,though at different levels. Marco level examines economy in a bigger scale such as market output inboth private and public sectors, total national and private expenditures. On how these macro activitiesare designed/operated will be surely shedding impacts on the populations/household which areconsidered micro level, through some meso structures such as market institutions. The effects may alsobe from how the government/public policy is introduced. If the policy is not properly managed/initiated,it may cause some imbalances at the macro level in which supply and demand are not accuratelydeveloped. As result of this macro imbalances will also mislead the individual choices at micro level inboth micro supply and demand on such as goods and services. Such misleading imbalances of supplyand demand together will prevent the economy development of the country and mitigate external threatssuch international current rate, international trade and direct investments.The article proposes that there must be a need to change in state intervention at both macro andmeso levels. Diane shows in some recommendations on this change includes cutback public expenditureand the supply of money to reduce aggregate demand and changes in meso level to remove distortion inthe individual economy. These as changes in pricing through devaluation, privatization, tradeliberalization and withdrawal of subsidies and public services like road, education, and health services(p.35). As this change will be likely to influence the rights of individual to enjoy certain utility oraccess to certain resources, thus in some cases it promotes property boom through privatization, but thismay lead to breaking community social cohesion, destroying customary use rights, limit employeesocial collective rights and the right to strike. What is it interesting is that these removals are consideredas to help eliminate distortions but these generally do not apply to the rich and the powerful, unlike thepoor and the weak whose social rights are more reasonably to be thought as distortions. This because of lack in gender and pro-poor policy which can help better see the overall picture of the interventionignoring the informal economy where women and children are the domain of the market and ensure thatthe formal economy keeps running, without both informal economy and reproductive work, formal andproductive work cannot be attained.At the meso level (same as macro level), analysis on family which refers to the neo-classicaleconomic as considers family as gender neutral and individual with joint utility manages by altruistic
 
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head of household that ensure everyone’s utility is met among the members.
And therefore women aresuffered from prejudices or economically disadvantages, and then it is should be the micro level, whichwould have nothing to do with the macro and micro, according the neo-classical theory. While microlevel in the neo-classical perspective accepts gender differences such as male and female as economicagent, yet certain level of gender biases remain untouched. For example, preference on access andcontrol over resources, entitlements and endowments that the neo-classical economists consider thateveryone is rational to maximize each utilities. A summary analysis of Diane critiques on this articlewill be discussed in next section and follow by the entire discussions.Critiques as Diane illustrated first would be focusing on economic agent who is not and will notbe rational for everyone. It is strongly disagree that the guaranteed of general equilibrium will beachieved if letting the market mechanism and money as medium of exchange of supply and demand towork freely. What Diane has simply emphasized/referred that if the economic agent thinks the price willchange in the future, it is likely that the agent will not spend any cash. Second critique is based on theidea that economic crisis are from the external threats but she argues that such threats themselves arefrom the malfunction/dysfunction and international economy which macro economists failed toconsider, therefore macro economics do not just limit into the country wide, it should be both globallyand nationally prepared as this globalization can easily affect the country economy. The third critiquemade by the article is on voluntarily contract where it is not sure that all contracts are voluntarily orforced.A matter of fact, each individual can be either very cooperative or competitive depends onvarious social norms and practices. This social norm is itself like a meso structure which shape/reshapeacting pattern. As she argues that without properly understanding/addressing social norms, exchanges ineconomic activity would not have been easily/satisfactory achieved since the results of the economyaction may also derive from how each person feels about certain situation in a certain setting with boundof friendship sharing mutual trust versus and non-friendship interactions. In this case, family as aneconomic agent makes no sense since as family is very much a social institution that either cooperative,conflict or both under poverty circumstances (Sen, 1990). Such cases of severe poverty, discrimination,subordination and socially unequal gender division of labor may limit or forbid people to freely chooseor what they want. Thus, argument can be made that this family is socially personal choice but personaland impersonal is political too (p.38). With regard to various economic and gender impacts briefingabout, Diane Elson also explains different critiques from a feminist critical economics and the critiquesof the economy policies as follows.One of the basic critiques of her on this article illustrated is concentrating on the idea of malebias reproducing the women oppression and subordination to men. The biases are mainly derived fromthe neoclassical economics which do not take into consideration of the inequality between men andwomen. What would help a feminist found ways out of this biasness is to explore carefully the threestructures of micro, macro and meso of the economy cannot be ignored the social reproduction andmake men aware of their dominant and encourage women to see they are under oppressed . Withoutanalyzing how male bias in these three levels, gender equality in both men and women would remainunchanged in term of addressing both the needs of women and men. In doing these three levels of analysis can be done via exploring social institutions such as family, marriage, kin relationships, socialrelations and meso institutions such as also market structures which are the norms to continuously limitwomen equal rights and burden women unpaid labor.Though in economic and labour market women represent some sort of employment quotas buttheir level of work tends to be at the bottom ladder of the employment, having limit chances to improvetheir human skills and excluding from possible of gaining wages as other equal professionals. Anothercritiques which Diane Elson has demonstrated was the reforming/re-establishing of public sectors whichcould increase women back into their works and social security, yet she warned that gender perspectivesmust be incorporated into this new re-establishment public sectors, otherwise, women will be againturning to the point where male
 bias coexists “even it may not be male
-bias by design but they will bemale-
 biased by omission” (p.40).
The third challenge puts forward is the uses of money. It is argued bythe author that money are not in itself a gender equality, it is influenced by social structures since moneyderived from paid work and therefore the benefits tend to go to men, however, a good example showed

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