nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2018‒04‒30
four papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. Traditional agricultural practices and the sex ratio today By Alesina, Alberto; Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
  2. A cautionary tale on polygyny, conflict and gender inequality By Krieger, Tim; Renner, Laura
  3. On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: Fertility, Parental Investments, and Mortality By S Anukriti; Sonia Bhalotra; Hiu Tam
  4. Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women By Bertrand, Marianne; Cortes, Patricia; Olivetti, Claudia; Pan, Jessica

  1. By: Alesina, Alberto; Giuliano, Paola; Nunn, Nathan
    Abstract: We study the historical origins of cross-country differences in the male-to-female sex ratio. Our analysis focuses on the use of the plough in traditional agriculture. In societies that did not use the plough, women tended to participate in agriculture as actively as men. By contrast, in societies that used the plough, men specialized in agricultural work, due to the physical strength needed to pull the plough or control the animal that pulls it. We hypothesize that this difference caused plough-using societies to value boys more than girls. Today, this belief is reflected in male-biased sex ratios, which arise due to sex-selective abortion or infanticide, or gender-differences in access to family resources, which results in higher mortality rates for girls. Testing this hypothesis, we show that descendants of societies that traditionally practiced plough agriculture today have higher average male-to-female sex ratios. We find that this effect systematically increases in magnitude and statistical significance as one looks at older cohorts. Estimates using instrumental variables confirm our findings from multivariate OLS analysis.
    Keywords: Cultural Transmission; gender roles; historical persistence; Sex ratio
    JEL: J1 N00 Z1
    Date: 2018–04
  2. By: Krieger, Tim; Renner, Laura
    Abstract: Kanazawa (J of Politics, 2009) claims that polygyny may be the "first law of intergroup conflict (civil wars)". Gleditsch et al. (J of Politics, 2011) reject this claim by showing that the effect of polygyny on civil war onset disappears once misogyny is controlled for. Our paper recapitulates this theoretical and empirical debate. We explore further theoretical arguments and replicate and extend the empirical analysis of Gleditsch et al. Our analysis is based on data from 123 countries from the period 1981-2011. Our results show that there is some truth to the empirical claims of both articles: Both polygyny and gender inequality matter in explaining the onset of internal conflicts. However, the results are sensitive to regional sample splits as well as the choice of the dimensions of gender inequality. The most pronounced effects can be found in a subsample of 40 African countries.
    Keywords: Polygyny,Misogyny,Gender Inequality,Intrastate Conflict,Civil War
    JEL: D74 J12 J16
    Date: 2018
  3. By: S Anukriti (Boston College; IZA); Sonia Bhalotra (University of Essex); Hiu Tam (University of Oxford)
    Abstract: The introduction of prenatal sex-detection technologies in India has led to a phenomenal increase in abortion of female fetuses. We examine fertility and investment responses to these technologies. We find a moderation of son-biased fertility stopping, erosion of gender gaps in parental investments in breastfeeding and immunization, and convergence in the under-5 mor- tality rates of boys and girls. For every three aborted girls, roughly one additional girl survives to age five. We also find a shift in the distribution of girls in favor of low-socioeconomic status families. Our findings have implications not only for counts of missing girls but also for the later life outcomes of girls conditioned by greater early life investments in them.
    Keywords: abortion, child mortality, fertility, gender, health, India, missing girls, parental investments, prenatal sex detection, sex-selection, ultrasound
    JEL: I15 J13 J16
    Date: 2018–01–15
  4. By: Bertrand, Marianne (University of Chicago); Cortes, Patricia (Boston University); Olivetti, Claudia (Boston College); Pan, Jessica (National University of Singapore)
    Abstract: In most of the developed world, skilled women marry at a lower rate than unskilled women. We document heterogeneity across countries in how the marriage gap for skilled women has evolved over time. As labor market opportunities for women have improved, the marriage gap has been growing in some countries but shrinking in others. We discuss the comparative statics of a theoretical model in which the (negative) social attitudes toward working women might contribute to the lower marriage rate of skilled women, and might also induce a non-monotonic relationship between their labor market prospects and their marriage outcomes. The model delivers predictions about how the marriage gap for skilled women should react to changes in their labor market opportunities across economies with more or less conservative attitudes toward working women. We verify the key predictions of this model in a panel of 26 developed countries, as well as in a panel of US states.
    Keywords: social norms, marriage gap, labor market opportunities
    JEL: J12 J16
    Date: 2018–03

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