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The Historical Origin of Differences in Gender Norms

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Presentation by Paola Giuliano at Development Day 2018 – Gender Equality and Economic Development: From Research to Action. This year conference was focused on existing constraints and also highlighted initiatives that could help to create an equal society.

More about the conference and research in transition economics can be found on SITE’s website: https://www.hhs.se/site

Published in: Economy & Finance
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The Historical Origin of Differences in Gender Norms

  1. 1. The historical origin of differences in gender norms Paola Giuliano UCLA Anderson School of Management NBER, CEPR and IZA
  2. 2. Global differences in gender norms • There are vast cross-societal differences in cultural attitudes about the appropriate role of women • This is reflected in both value-based survey responses and objective measures like female labor force participation • “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women” (from the WVS): – Proportion of the population that answer “yes”: – Iceland 3.6%; USA 10.6%; Rwanda 28%, Switzerland 35.1% – Japan 60%; Pakistan 79%; Egypt 94.9% • Female labor force participation rates in 2000: – Burundi 93.2%; Tanzania 89.3%; Iceland 83.3%; USA 70.4% – Japan 59%; Italy 46%; Pakistan 30.3%; Egypt 21.5%
  3. 3. Explaining the gender division of labor • Proximate causes have been well documented (e.g., Iversen and Rosenbluth, 2010) • Some have suggested that cultural norms and beliefs may also be important: • Fortin (2005), Fernandez and Fogli (2010) • But where do cultural norms come from? – Ester Boserup (1970): “Women’s Role in Economic Development” – According to Boserup the answer lies in the form of agriculture practiced traditionally
  4. 4. Outline Ø Review work by Alesina, Giuliano and Nunn (2013) on the historical persistence of FLFP and gender norms Ø Present evidence on additional societal differences on the historical role of women in society Ø Marriage arrangements Ø The presence of the dowry versus the bride price Ø Differences in inheritance rules favoring women Ø Present evidence on persistence of gender roles looking at differences in: Ø Economic participation and opportunity Ø Educational attainment Ø Health and survival Ø Political empowerment Ø Sex ratio at birth Ø Overview of other historical determinants of gender differences
  5. 5. Historical origin of gender roles Ø Agricultural technology Ø Language Ø Geography Ø Preindustrial societal characteristics Ø Family structures Ø Religion Ø Historical shocks
  6. 6. The plough
  7. 7. The hoe
  8. 8. The hoe
  9. 9. The digging stick
  10. 10. Boserup’s hypothesis 1. Certain parts of the world historically used plough agriculture 2. In these locations, men had a biological advantage for work in the field Ø This is because the person had to pull the plough or control an animal that pulled the plough (neither of which is an easy task) Ø The use of the plough also leaves little need for weeding, a job in which women almost always specialize (Foster and Rosenzweig, 1996) Ø Plough agriculture was less compatible with simultaneous child care (Brown, 1970) 3. Therefore, men tended to work in the field outside of the home, while women worked within the home 4. Over centuries, the belief that the home was “normal” or “natural” place for women evolved 5. These beliefs continue to persist today (even after a movement out of agriculture)
  11. 11. Historic plough use Ø The original information, from the Ethnographic Atlas, categorizes 1267 ethnic groups into the following four categories: 1. Data missing (109) 2. Plough absent (999) 3. Plough exists but not aboriginal (18) 4. Aboriginal plough use prior to contact (141) Ø Using this, we construct an indicator variable that equals one if ethnic group e used plough agriculture: plough eI
  12. 12. Linking historic ethnic groups to current regions and countries
  13. 13. Country-level: outcomes of interest 1. Female labor force participation- from WDI 2. Female representation in position of power: Ø Proportion of firm owners/managers that are female – from WB Enterprise surveys Ø Proportion of seats in national parliament held by women – from WDI 3. Controls: all historical controls; contemporary: log real per capita income and log real per capita income squared
  14. 14. The plough and women outcomes
  15. 15. Individual-level: outcomes of interest 1. Female labor force participation 2. Subjective measures of gender role attitudes underlying the objective country-level measures: Ø Employment: “When job are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women” Ø (i) agree, (ii) neither, (iii) disagree Ø Variable equal to 1 if agree and zero otherwise Ø Leadership and politics: “On the whole, men make better political leaders that women do” Ø (i) strongly disagree, (ii) disagree, (iii) agree, (iv) strongly agree Ø Variable takes on values 1, 2, 3, 4.
  16. 16. US Immigrants Data Ø From the March Supplement of the Current Population Survey, 1994-2009 Ø Country of origin and country of birth of individual mother and father is recorded Ø Look at: Ø Second generation Ø By mother country of origin Ø By father country of origin Ø Both parents of the same ethnicity Ø All women Ø Married women Ø By country of origin (mother, father and both parents) Ø By husband country of origin
  17. 17. Children of immigrants, OLS
  18. 18. Europe Immigrants Data Ø European Social Survey: (5 waves 2002-2010), 26 European countries Ø Country of origin and country of birth of individual mother and father is recorded Ø Look at: Ø Second generation Ø By mother country of origin Ø By father country of origin Ø Both parents of the same ethnicity Ø Question on beliefs about the role of women in societies: “When Jobs are scarce”
  19. 19. Europe: immigrants’ regressions, OLS
  20. 20. Historical female labor force participation and FLFP 2000
  21. 21. Other differences in social norms: evidence from the past Ø Goody (1976) Ø In female farming communities, a man with more than one wife can cultivate more land than a man with only one wife. Therefore polygamy is expected to be more common in societies with shifting cultivation. Ø In societies where women do most of the agricultural work it is the bridegroom who must pay bride-wealth, on the contrary where women are less actively engaged in agriculture marriage payments come usually from the girl’s family.
  22. 22. Table 3 Traditional Plough Use and Social Norms in the Pre-Industrial Period (1) (2) (3) Dowry Polygamy Matrilineal society Traditional plough agriculture 0.135*** -0.610*** -0.068** (0.028) (0.044) (0.033) Ethnographic controls yes yes yes Observations 1,080 1,070 1,074 R-squared 0.171 0.211 0.022 Notes: The unit of observation is an ethnic group from the Ethnographic Atlas. “Ethnographic controls” include: the suitability of the local environment for agriculture, the presence of large domesticated animals, the proportion of the local environment that is tropical or subtropical, an index of settlement density, and an index of political development. Coefficients are reported with robust standard errors in brackets. ***, ** and * indicate significance at the 1, 5 and 10 % level.
  23. 23. Persistence Ø OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Database: Ø Parental authority: whether parental authority is granted to the father and the mother equally or not Ø Inheritance rules: a variable indicating whether inheritance practices are in favour of male heirs. Ø Freedom of movement: whether women have freedom to move outside of the house. Ø Dress code: a variable indicating the obligation to wear a veil in public. Ø Poligamy: a variable indicating whether poligamy is accepted or legal. Ø All variables go from 0 to 1, where 1 indicates more gender inequality
  24. 24. Persistence ECU PER KGZ TTOJAM RWA KAZ PAN BDI HTI MUS MDG FJICRI AZE SLE NGA ZWE MLI NIC UGA SAU BWA BOLARG LBR NER GTM BEN COG NAM GIN SDN BFAAGOGHA GHA CHN GNQ CIVSEN RUS MNG SLV BRA GAB CMR BLR PHL COL UKR PNG TZA ZMB IRN LAO THA VNM VEN ARE HND BHR TKM ZAFIDN ARM TCD TGO HRV KWTOMN MKDBIH PAK MOZ GNB MWI CAF KEN YEM MRT TUN KOR MDA MYS PRY LBY KHM BGD SGP JORDZA BTN LKAEGYSYR ETH URY GEO NPL MAR IND DOM ALB SWZLSO ERI LBN TJK -.501 -1 0 1 e(Traditional plough use | X) (coef = 0.23 t-stat = 2.13) ECU PER KGZ TTO JAM RWA KAZBDI HTI MUS MDG FJICRI AZE SLE NGA NIC ZWE MLI SAU UGA BWA BOL ARG GTM LBR COG NER BEN GIN NAM SDN BFA GNQ AGOGHAGHA CHNCIV SEN RUSBRA SLV UZB GAB MNG CMR PHL BLR COL PNG UKR TZA ZMB THA IRN LAO VNM ARE VEN BHR HND IDN KWT ZAF OMN TGO TCD HRV ARM PAK MKD BIH MOZ GNB CAF MWI YEM KEN TUN KORMRT MYS MDA PRY LBY KHM BGD SGP JOR DZA BTN EGY LKASYR URY ETH GEO NPLMARIND DOM ALB SWZ LSO ERI LBN TJK -.501 e(Inheritancerules|X) -1 0 1 e(Traditional plough use | X) (coef = 0.13 t-stat = 1.73) ECU PER KGZ TTO JAM RWA KAZ PAN BDI HTI MUS MDG FJI CRIAZE SLE NGA ZWE SAU NICBWA MLI ARG UGA BOL GTM BENNER NAM LBR COG GINBFAAGO SDN CHN GHAGHASEN GNQ CIV RUS SLV BRAUZBMNG BLR GAB CMR PHLCOL UKR TZA PNGTHA ZMB IRN LAO ARE VNM VEN BHR ZAF KWT HND HRV IDN OMN TGO TKM ARM TCD MKD PAK BIH MOZ MWI TUN CAFKEN YEM KOR MRT MDA MYS LBY PRY KHM BGD SGP JOR DZA BTN PRI LKA EGYURY SYR ETH MARDOM GEO INDNPL ALB SWZ LSO ERI LBN TJK -.501 e(Freedomofmovement|X) -1 0 1 e(Traditional plough use | X) (coef = 0.17 t-stat = 2.79)
  25. 25. Persistence ECU PER KGZ TTOJAM RWA KAZ PAN HTI BDIMUS MDG FJI CRI AZE SLE NGA ZWE NIC SAU MLI BWAUGA ARGBOL GTM BEN NER NAM LBR COG GIN BFA AGO SDN GHAGHACHNSEN CIV GNQ RUS SLVBRA UZB MNG BLR GABCMR PHLCOL UKR TZA PNG ZMB THA IRN LAO ARE VNMVEN ZAF BHR HND KWT HRV TGO IDN TCD OMN ARM TKM MKD BIH PAK MOZ GNBMWICAF TUN KEN YEM KOR MRT MDA MYS LBY PRY KHM BGD SGP JOR DZA PRI BTN LKA EGY URY SYR ETH MAR DOM GEO IND NPL ALB SWZLSO ERI LBN TJK -.501 -1 0 1 e(Traditional plough use | X) (coef = 0.17 t-stat = 2.83) KGZ FJI PNG CRIECU SOM COG SAU KAZ NIC GNQ SLE PAN LBR GTM MLI MUS SDN CMR PER CIV GIN RWA NER AZE BDI MDG UZB TCD HND GHA GHA CAF NGA TLS UGA TTOJAM GNBTGO BEN SENAGO ZWE BFA HTI TZA GAB MOZ ARG NAM PHL BWA MWI MNG KEN VEN ZMB COL SLV KOR LAO ARM RUS TKM BOL BRA CHN GEO HRVBIHMKD ZAF BLRUKR MYS ALB TJK MRT ETH MMR IRN IDN VNM ERISYR AFG PRY KHM EGY SGP YEM BHR IRQOMN AREJORKWT LBYBTNDZA PAK THA NPL BGD IND LKAMDA MARLBNLSO DOMPRIURYCUBTUN SWZ -.501 e(Poligamy|X) -1 0 1 e(Traditional plough use | X) (coef = - 0.17 t-stat = - 1.91)
  26. 26. Traditional plough use and the Global Gender Gap index ECU ISL PER KGZ TTO JAM GUY KAZ PAN MUS MDG JPN AZE ZWE NGA CRI FJI UGA BWA MLI BEN BFA SAU BOL NIC GMB ARG AGO NAM GTM SEN FRA GHAGHA BHS BLZ CHN RUSSLV CHEBLR BELSUR LUXMEX TZA CMR ZMB NZL MNG UKR UZB BRA PHL THA ITA IRN NOR ZAF COL USA CAN DNK SWE IRL AUT VNM NLD GBRDEU MLT ROU TCD FIN SVN ARE MOZ BHR VEN HND KWT IDN HRV MWI TUNCZE OMN ARM PAK POL SVKHUN KENEST MKDLTU LVACHL MDA BGR GRCAUSMRTCYP YEM BGD MDV KOR PRY MYS KHM DZA ESP PRT JOR TUR URY LKA SGP DOM MAR ETH SYR BRN ISR EGY IND NPL LSO GEO ALB TJK -.150.15 e(Theglobalgendergapindex|X) -1 0 1 e(Traditional plough use | X) (coef = -0.43 t-stat = - 3.06) The Global Gender Gap Index examines the gap between men and women in four categories: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment.
  27. 27. Sex ratios and agricultural technology
  28. 28. Sex ratios and agricultural technology
  29. 29. Other aspects of long-term persistence of gender roles Ø Language Ø The grammatical features of a language are inherited from the distant past and the gender system is one of the most stable linguistic features Ø Gay et al. (2013) show that women speaking languages that more pervasively mark gender distinctions are less likely to participate in economic and political activities and more likely to encounter barriers in their access to land and credit
  30. 30. Geography Ø Geography Ø Carranza (2014) points out that soil texture determines the workability of the soil and the technology used in land preparation Ø She distinguishes between loamy and clayey soil textures Ø Deep tillage, possible in loamy soil but not in clayey soil textures, reduces the need for transplanting, fertilizing and weeding, activities typically performed by women. Ø She shows that soil texture explains a large part of the variation in women’s relative participation in agriculture and the infant sex ratio
  31. 31. Pre-industrial societal characteristics Ø Matrilineality Ø Lineage and inheritance are traced through female members Ø More common to reside in the wife’s natal home with her other Ø Property is handed down from women to their daughters and granddaughters Ø Long term implications on: Ø Competition (Gneezy et al., 2009) Ø Risk aversion (Gong, Yan and Yang, 2015) Ø Social interaction between family members (Lowes, 2016)
  32. 32. Competition (Gneezy et al., 2009) Ø Maasai in Tanzania and Khasi in Northeast India Ø Subjects were given a choice to either partake in a ball- throwing game without competition or to compete with an anonymous person from the same village playing the same game. Ø Among the Maasai, 50 percent of men chose to compete, but only 26 percent of women Ø Among the Khasi, 54 percent of women chose to compete versus 39 percent of men
  33. 33. Risk aversion (Gong et al., 2012) and social interaction between family members (Lowes, 2016) Ø Matrilineal Mosuo and patrilineal Yi: men always less risk averse but the gap is smaller among the Mosuo Ø Lowes (2016) collect data on 320 couples in the Democratic Republic of Congo (40% matrilineal): matrilineal women are less altruistic toward their spouses because they maintain strong allegiances to their own lineage.
  34. 34. Matrilocality (Jayachandran, 2015) Ø In Northern India, where the social structure is patrilocal, gender inequality is more pronounced. Parents gain more returns to investment in a son’s health and education because he will remain a part of their family.
  35. 35. The Dowry versus the Bride Price Ø Dowry: payment that a bride’s parents make to the couple at the time of marriage Ø Bride price: transfer from the groom family to the bride’s family. Ø Paying a dowry is important to explain preferences for sons (Das Gupta et al. 2003). It reduces investment in human capital, increases domestic violence and even leads to dowry death when the payment is not adequate
  36. 36. Differences in historical family structure and religion Ø In strong family ties societies, family solidarity is based on an unequal division of family work between men and women (the male-breadwinner hypothesis), with men working full time and women dedicating themselves to housework (Alesina and Giuliano, 2014) Ø Important gender differences in the context of the Protestant Reformation (Becker et al., 2008) and of missionary activity in Africa (Nunn 2014) Ø Becker et al. 2008 use data on school enrollment from the Prussian Population Census in 1816 and show that a larger share of Protestants in a county or town was associated with a larger share of girls in the total school population. Ø Nunn (2014) show that Catholicism and Protestantism had a long-run impact on educational attainment, but Protestant missions had a long term effect on the education of women and lower on the education of men. For Catholic missions the opposite was true.
  37. 37. Natural experiments in history Ø Historical shocks can alter the relative position of women in a society. Ø Slave trade: Teso (2016) exploits the demographic shock generated by the transatlantic slave trade in Africa between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, women had to take up traditional male work. Women belonging to ethnic groups that were more severely hit by the slave trade are today more likely to be in the labor force and to be employed in a higher-ranked occupation, they are also more likely to participate in household decisions and to have lower fertility Ø Wars: high mobilization rates had a strong impact on gender roles (Goldin and Olivetti, 2013) or Fernandez et al. (2014) Ø Exposure to state-socialist regimes: compare women who lived in East Germany before German unification with women who lived in West Germany. Career success is 11 percentage points higher for women in the East. (Campa and Serafinelli, 2016) Ø Long term effect of the male-biased sex ratio: use British policy experiment of sending convicts to Australia, male convicts outnumbered female convicts by a ratio of six to one. Gender imbalance was associated with women being more likely to get married, participating less in the labor force, and being less likely to work in high- ranking occupations. The effect persists until today (Grosjean and Khattar, 2016) Ø The cotton revolution: adoption of spinning and weaving technologies from 1300 until 1840 allowed women to produce cotton textiles at home and sell clothing. Increase in economic power implied an improvement of sex ratio at birth, lower widow suicide and higher female labor force participation (Xue, 2016)
  38. 38. Conclusions Ø History matters in explaining differences in gender roles observed today. Ø Various evidence suggests that differences in cultural norms regarding gender roles emerge in response to specific historical situations but tend to persist even after the historical conditions have changed

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