nep-gen New Economics Papers
on Gender
Issue of 2022‒02‒21
four papers chosen by
Jan Sauermann
Institutet för Arbetsmarknads- och Utbildningspolitisk Utvärdering

  1. Can barely winning lead to losing? Evidence for a substantial gender gap in psychological momentum By Mario Lackner; Michael Weichselbaumer
  2. Settlers and Norms By Joanne Haddad
  3. Parental Investments in Early Childhood and the Gender Gap in Math and Literacy By Amanda Chuan; John List; Anya Samek; Shreemayi Samujjwala
  4. Wheels of Change: Transforming Girls’ Lives with Bicycles By Nathan Fiala; Ana Garcia-Hernandez; Kritika Narula; Nishith Prakash

  1. By: Mario Lackner; Michael Weichselbaumer
    Abstract: We use data from professional tennis to measure the causal effect of past on current performance for women and men. Identification relies on exogenous shocks to the probability of facing a contested game, which is a previous stage of competition with strong resistance. We find fundamental gender differences: whereas men’s performance is unaffected by previously facing and winning a contested game, women experience a sizeable deterioration of performance after barely winning the previous stage. This result is linked to gender differences in psychological momentum. Detailed analysis reveals heterogeneous effects by experience, ability and contest progression.
    Keywords: performance feedback, relative performance, process feedback, gender differences, psychological momentum.
    JEL: J16 M52
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Joanne Haddad
    Abstract: The distinctive traits of early settlers at initial stages of institutional development may be crucial for cultural formation. In 1973, the cultural geographer Wilbur Zelinsky postulated this in his doctrine of “first effective settlement”. There is however little empirical evidence supporting the role of early settlers in shaping culture over the long run. This paper tests this hypothesis by relating early settlers’ culture to within state variation in gender norms in the United States. I capture settlers’ culture using past female labor force participation, women’s suffrage, and financial rights at their place of origin. I document the distinctive characteristics of settlers’ populations and provide suggestive evidence in support of the transmission of gender norms across space and time. My results show that women’s labor supply is higher, in both the short and long run, in U.S. counties that historically hosted a larger settler population originating from places with favorable gender attitudes. My findings shed new light on the importance of the characteristics of immigrants and their place of origin for cultural formation in hosting societies.
    Keywords: female labor force participation, settlers, gender norms, cultural formation
    Date: 2022–01
  3. By: Amanda Chuan; John List; Anya Samek; Shreemayi Samujjwala
    Abstract: As early as middle school, girls self-select out of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at greater rates than boys. Why? We link women's under-representation in STEM to their over-representation in nonSTEM fields. Prior work argues that this over-representation arises from women's comparative advantage in language arts, which emerges as early as age 5. A key question, therefore, is why might women have a comparative advantage in language arts? Since this advantage appears to arise early, early parental investments may play a role. As List et al. (2018) and others argue, parents play a central role in the development of child skills. In this paper, we use a longitudinal field experiment with 953 children and their parents to investigate whether there are differences in parental investments at early ages by child gender. We further investigate whether such investments are associated with test scores in math and language arts at older ages. We first survey parents on time spent teaching to children when they are 3-5 years old. We then collect data on Math and English test scores when children are 8-14 years old. Finally, we use a field experiment to explore whether early childhood interventions affect gender gaps in parental investments.
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Nathan Fiala (University of Connecticut, Makerere University and RWI-Leibniz Institute for Economic Research); Ana Garcia-Hernandez (Universidad del Rosario and Innovations for Poverty Action); Kritika Narula (Analysis Group); Nishith Prakash (University of Connecticut, IZA, GLO, HiCN, and CReAM)
    Abstract: Reducing the gender gap in education is a primary goal for many countries. Two major challenges for many girls are the distance to school and their safety when commuting to school. In Zambia, we studied the impact of providing a bicycle to a school-going girl who lives more than 3 km from the school. We randomized whether a girl received a bicycle with a small cost to her family to cover replacement parts, a bicycle where these costs are covered by the program, and therefore is zero cost to the family, or a control group. One year after the intervention, we find that the bicycle reduced average commuting time to school by 35%, reduced late arrival by 66%, and decreased absenteeism by 27%. We find continued improvement in girls’ attendance and reduction in dropouts two, three, and four years after the intervention. We also find evidence of improved math test scores, girls expressing higher feelings of control over their lives and, for those who received bicycles with a small cost to her family, higher levels of aspirations, self-image, and a desire to delay marriage and pregnancy. Heterogeneity analysis by distance to school shows an inverted U-shape for most of the schooling and empowerment results, suggesting greater impact for girls that live further away from school. These results suggest that empowerment outcomes worked through increased attendance in school.
    Keywords: Girls’ Education, Attendance, Dropout, Grade Transition, Test Scores, Bicycles, Female As-piration, Female Empowerment, Safety, Zambia
    JEL: H42 I21 I25 J16 O15
    Date: 2022–02

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