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The Economics and Politics of Women's Rights

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Author Info

  • Matthias Doepke

    ()
    ( Department of Economics, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208)

  • Michèle Tertilt

    ()
    ( Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany)

  • Alessandra Voena

    ()
    ( Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

Abstract

Women's rights and economic development are highly correlated. Today, the discrepancy between the legal rights of women and men is much larger in developing compared with developed countries. Historically, even in countries that are now rich, women had few rights before economic development took off. Is development the cause of expanding women's rights, or conversely, do women's rights facilitate development? We argue that there is truth to both hypotheses. The literature on the economic consequences of women's rights documents that more rights for women lead to more spending on health and children, which should benefit development. The political-economy literature on the evolution of women's rights finds that technological change increased the costs of patriarchy for men and thus contributed to the expansion of women's rights. Combining these perspectives, we discuss the theory of Doepke & Tertilt (2009), who find that an increase in the return to human capital induces men to vote for women's rights, which in turn promotes growth in human capital and income per capita.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (07)
Pages: 339-372

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Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:4:y:2012:p:339-372

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Related research

Keywords: women's liberation; female suffrage; fertility; human capital; development;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Women's rights and economic growth
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-25 14:35:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Doepke, Matthias & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2013. "Culture, Entrepreneurship, and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 7459, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Birendra Rai & Kunal Sengupta, 2012. "Pre-marital Confinement of Women: A Signaling and Matching Approach," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 32-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Femmes au pouvoir et Pouvoir des femmes : Qu’est-ce qui se passe en Afrique ?
    [Women in power and power of women: What is happening in Africa?]
    ," MPRA Paper 48776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. David Fielding, 2013. "How Much Does Women's Empowerment Influence their Wellbeing? Evidence from Africa," Working Papers 1307, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2013.
  5. Aynur Pala, 2014. "Does Higher Education Reduce Poverty among Youths in Nigeria?," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, January.
  6. Naghsh Nejad, Maryam, 2013. "Institutionalized Inequality and Brain Drain: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Women's Rights on the Gender Gap in High-Skilled Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 7864, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Michèle Tertilt, 2012. "The Research Agenda: Michèle Tertilt on Gender in Macroeconomics," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(1), November.

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