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The Economics of Women's Rights

Michèle Tertilt (), Matthias Doepke (), Anne Hannusch () and Laura Moutenbruck ()
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Michèle Tertilt: Universität Mannheim
Anne Hannusch: University of Mannheim
Laura Moutenbruck: University of Mannheim

No 2022-036, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: Two centuries ago, in most countries around the world, women were unable to vote, had no say over their own children or property, and could not obtain a divorce. Women have gradually gained rights in many areas of life, and this legal expansion has been closely intertwined with economic development. We aim to understand the drivers behind these reforms. To this end, we distinguish between four types of women's rights—economic, political, labor, and body—and document their evolution over the past 50 years across countries. We summarize the political-economy mechanisms that link economic development to changes in women's rights and show empirically that these mechanisms account for a large share of the variation in women's rights across countries and over time.

Keywords: female suffrage; family economics; bargaining; political economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D13 D72 E24 J12 J16 N30 O10 O43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-his, nep-lab and nep-pol
Note: FI, M
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