Robert Kaestner, Ofer Malamud, 21 January 2022

The persistence of the gender wage gap suggests it may have roots extending back into childhood. Using data from a US longitudinal survey, this column examines how gender differences in adult earnings correspond to various childhood behaviours. Results indicate that women (but not men) who exhibited headstrong behaviour as children incurred significant earnings penalties as adults, while men (but not women) who exhibited more dependent behaviour as children were penalised. Whether these patterns are the result of nonconformity to gender norms and stereotypes warrants further attention and study. 

Anna Raute, Uta Schӧnberg, 02 July 2021

Do cultural norms determine whether women go back to work after having a child? And if culture changes, does their behaviour change too? Anna Raute and Uta Schӧnberg tell Tim Phillips how the reunification of Germany provided unique data.

The paper discussed is:
Boelmann, B, Raute, A and Schӧnberg, U. 2021. 'Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16149

 

Danilo Cavapozzi, Marco Francesconi, Cheti Nicoletti, 13 May 2021

Despite a significant reduction in gender differences in the labour market over the last 40 years, they are still present in most advanced economies and do not appear likely to vanish soon. This column analyses the impact of culture, defined by women’s gender role attitudes, on maternal labour market decisions. It finds that social pressure is at least as strong as social learning in influencing labour market behaviour. Once these channels are accounted for, there is no direct effect of peers’ gender identity norms on labour force participation. Disseminating detailed statistics on female labour market outcomes and work attitudes may prove to be a cost-effective way to promote labour market participation, especially among less-educated mothers.

Victor Gay, Daniel Hicks, Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 10 September 2016

Evidence suggests that many forms of gender inequality are higher in countries where the language distinguishes gender. But these patterns could arise spuriously, as languages and other cultural institutions have co-evolved throughout history. This column uses an epidemiological approach to isolate language from other cultural forces and provide direct evidence on whether language matters. The findings suggest how gender roles have been shaped, how they are perpetuated, and, ultimately, how they can be changed.

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