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On the Historical Roots of Women’s Empowerment across Italian Provinces: Religion or Family Culture?

Monica Bozzano

Center for Economic Research (RECent) from University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi"

Abstract: In most developed countries the gender gap is nearly closing in the health and educational spheres while there is still sizeable gender inequality in the economic and political dimensions. Why do women’s economic decision-making and political empowerment vary so widely? What are the main potential determinants of such variations? In this paper we explore the association between two specific facets of women’s empowerment, the percentage of women holding office in local political bodies and the percentage of women in high-ranking jobs, with the cultural environment in which women make their career decisions. Our hypothesis is that culture, in particular those values embodied by religious culture, plays a central role in shaping norms and beliefs about the role and involvement of women in society. Moreover we suggest that these cultural norms are inherited from the past and therefore have a high degree of inertia. Over a cross section of Italian provincial data, both OLS and IV results indicate that our measures of women’s empowerment are strongly associated with religious culture, as proxied by religious marriages. These results are robust and consistent across specifications

Keywords: women’s empowerment; politics; glass ceiling; religion; family culture; historical determinants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J7 N30 R1 Z10 Z12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-evo, nep-his, nep-hme, nep-lma and nep-pol
Date: 2015-04
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Journal Article: On the historical roots of women's empowerment across Italian provinces: religion or family culture? (2017) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mod:recent:110

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