nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2021‒08‒23
five papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Stockholms universitet

  1. Long-Term Consequences of Teaching Gender Roles: Evidence from Desegregating Industrial Arts and Home Economics in Japan By Hara, Hiromi; Rodríguez-Planas, Núria
  2. (Anticipated) Discrimination against Sexual Minorities in Prosocial Domains By Billur Aksoy; Ian Chadd; Boon Han Koh
  3. At a Crossroads: The impact of abortion access on future economic outcomes By Kelly Jones
  4. Women's Well-Being During a Pandemic and its Containment By Natalie Bau; Gaurav Khanna; Corinne Low; Manisha Shah; Sreyashi Sharmin; Alessandra Voena
  5. What We Teach About Race and Gender: Representation in Images and Text of Children’s Books By Anjali Adukia; Alex Eble; Emileigh Harrison; Hakizumwami Birali Runesha; Teodora Szasz

  1. By: Hara, Hiromi (Japan Women's University); Rodríguez-Planas, Núria (Queens College, CUNY)
    Abstract: We explore whether a 1990 Japanese educational reform that eliminated gender-segregated and gender-stereotyped industrial arts and home economics classes in junior high schools led to behavioral changes among these students some two decades later when they were married and in their early forties. Using a Regression Discontinuity (RD) design and Japanese time-use data from 2016, we find that the reform had a direct impact on Japanese women's attachment to the labor force, which seems to have changed the distribution of gender roles within the household, as we observe both a direct effect of the reform on women spending more time in traditionally male tasks during the weekend and an indirect effect on their husbands, who spend more time in traditionally female tasks. We present suggestive evidence that women's stronger attachment to the labor force may have been driven by changes in beliefs regarding men' and women's gender roles. As for men, the reform only had a direct impact on their weekend home production if they were younger than their wives and had small children. In such relationships, the reform also had the indirect effect of reducing their wives' time spent in weekend home production without increasing their labor-market attachment. Interestingly, the reform increased fertility only when it decreased wives' childcare. Otherwise, the reform delayed fertility.
    Keywords: junior high school, coeducation of industrial arts and home economics, gender gaps, time-use data, employment and labor income, and fertility
    JEL: J22 J24 I2
    Date: 2021–07
  2. By: Billur Aksoy (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Ian Chadd (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Boon Han Koh (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We study discrimination in prosocial domains against sexual minorities using a sharing (dictator) game in an online experiment, where these individuals have the opportunity to signal their identity. We find that political affiliations matter: Republican heterosexual individuals are less generous to others who are perceived to be sexual minorities, while their Democratic counterparts are slightly more generous. This is robust to alternative specifications and cannot be explained by perceptions about the recipient’s political leaning. Moreover, women, but not men, are less likely to signal their sexual minority status when they are aware of the potential payoff implications of their decisions.
    Keywords: taste-based discrimination, identity, LGBTQ+, political preferences, gender.
    JEL: C90 D90 J16
    Date: 2021–08–16
  3. By: Kelly Jones
    Abstract: An unintended birth at an early age has the potential to interrupt a woman’s education, with implications for her future career and earnings. This paper investigates the impact of abortion access on women’s economic outcomes later in life. I corroborate earlier findings that abortion access during adolescence and early adulthood reduces early births. I then offer updated evidence that, controlling for contraception access, abortion access increases educa¬tional attainment, career outcomes and earnings of black women and reduces their poverty and reliance on public assistance. Findings suggest that fertility is a significant pathway by which abortion access affects work status and family income, but that other pathways such as expectations and investment in human capital are more relevant for occupational choice and personal earnings.
    Keywords: fertility, family planning, abortion, economics of gender
    JEL: J13 I2 J24 J16 N32
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Natalie Bau; Gaurav Khanna; Corinne Low; Manisha Shah; Sreyashi Sharmin; Alessandra Voena
    Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic brought the dual crises of disease and the containment policies designed to mitigate it. Yet, there is little evidence on the impacts of these policies on women, who are likely to be especially vulnerable, in lower-income countries. We conduct a large phone survey and leverage India's geographically-varying containment policies to estimate the association between both the pandemic and its containment policies, and measures of women's well-being, including mental health and food security. On aggregate, the pandemic resulted in dramatic income losses, increases in food insecurity, and declines in female mental health. While potentially crucial to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases, we find that greater prevalence of containment policies is associated with increased food insecurity, particularly for women, and with reduced female mental health. Average containment levels are associated with a 39-40% increase in the likelihood of sadness, depression, and hopelessness among women and with an increase in the likelihood that women feel more worried by 45% of the variable mean. Particularly vulnerable groups of women, those with daughters and those living in female-headed households, experience larger declines in mental health.
    JEL: I14 I15 J16 O12 O38
    Date: 2021–08
  5. By: Anjali Adukia; Alex Eble; Emileigh Harrison; Hakizumwami Birali Runesha; Teodora Szasz
    Abstract: Books shape how children learn about society and social norms, in part through the representation of different characters. To better understand the messages children encounter in books, we introduce new artificial intelligence methods for systematically converting images into data. We apply these image tools, along with established text analysis methods, to measure the representation of race, gender, and age in children’s books commonly found in US schools and homes over the last century. We find that more characters with darker skin color appear over time, but "mainstream" award-winning books, which are twice as likely to be checked out from libraries, persistently depict more lighter-skinned characters even after conditioning on perceived race. Across all books, children are depicted with lighter skin than adults. Over time, females are increasingly present but are more represented in images than in text, suggesting greater symbolic inclusion in pictures than substantive inclusion in stories. Relative to their growing share of the US population, Black and Latinx people are underrepresented in the mainstream collection; males, particularly White males, are persistently overrepresented. Our data provide a view into the "black box" of education through children’s books in US schools and homes, highlighting what has changed and what has endured.
    JEL: I21 I24 J15 J16 Z1
    Date: 2021–08

This nep-gen issue is ©2021 by Jan Sauermann. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.