IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/anr/reveco/v4y2012p339-372.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Economics and Politics of Women's Rights

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt & Alessandra Voena, 2012. "The Economics and Politics of Women's Rights," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 339-372, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:4:y:2012:p:339-372
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-economics-061109-080201
    Download Restriction: Full text downloads are only available to subscribers. Visit the abstract page for more information.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    2. Willa Friedman & Michael Kremer & Edward Miguel & Rebecca Thornton, 2016. "Education as Liberation?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(329), pages 1-30, January.
    3. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 231-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Monica Das Gupta & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2003. "Why is Son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 153-187.
    5. Irma Clots-Figueras, 2012. "Are Female Leaders Good for Education? Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 212-244, January.
    6. Andrew J. Oswald & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2010. "Daughters and Left-Wing Voting," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 213-227, May.
    7. Bertocchi, Graziella, 2011. "The enfranchisement of women and the welfare state," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 535-553, May.
    8. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, June.
    9. Lena Edlund & Chulhee Lee, 2013. "Son Preference, Sex Selection and Economic Development: The Case of South Korea," NBER Working Papers 18679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2011. "Fertility and the Plough," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 499-503, May.
    11. Ferreira, Fernando & Gyourko, Joseph, 2014. "Does gender matter for political leadership? The case of U.S. mayors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 24-39.
    12. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    13. Robert Jensen & Emily Oster, 2009. "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1057-1094.
    14. Iyigun, Murat & Walsh, Randall P., 2007. "Endogenous gender power, household labor supply and the demographic transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 138-155, January.
    15. Eliana La Ferrara & Alberto Chong & Suzanne Duryea, 2012. "Soap Operas and Fertility: Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 1-31, October.
    16. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
    17. Emily Oster, 2004. "Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 215-228, Winter.
    18. Lena Edlund & Laila Haider & Rohini Pande, 2005. "Unmarried Parenthood and Redistributive Politics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 95-119, March.
    19. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
    20. Neelakantan, Urvi & Tertilt, Michèle, 2008. "A note on marriage market clearing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 103-105, November.
    21. Lena Edlund & Nils-Petter Lagerlöf, 2006. "Individual versus Parental Consent in Marriage: Implications for Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 304-307, May.
    22. Alessandra Voena, 2011. "Yours, Mine and Ours: Do Divorce Laws Affect the Intertemporal Behavior of Married Couples?," Discussion Papers 10-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    23. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
    24. Lena Edlund & Rohini Pande, 2002. "Why Have Women Become Left-Wing? The Political Gender Gap and the Decline in Marriage," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 917-961.
    25. Dalton Conley & Emily Rauscher, 2010. "The Effect of Daughters on Partisanship," NBER Working Papers 15873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2015. "Gender gaps in policy making: evidence from direct democracy in Switzerland," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 30(81), pages 141-181.
    27. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 267-288.
    28. Silvia Pezzini, 2005. "The Effect of Women's Rights on Women's Welfare: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(502), pages 208-227, March.
    29. Johnston, FBA, Ron, 2011. "Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 166, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, IX," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780197264751.
    30. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
    31. Abrams, Burton A & Settle, Russell F, 1999. "Women's Suffrage and the Growth of the Welfare State," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 289-300, September.
    32. Joireman, S.F., 2008. "The Mystery of Capital Formation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Women, Property Rights and Customary Law," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1233-1246, July.
    33. Betsey Stevenson, 2008. "Divorce Law and Women's Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 14346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2008. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 981-1022, December.
    35. Edlund, Lena Cecilia & Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2006. "Individual vs. Parental Consent in Marriage: Implications for Intra-Household Resource Allocation and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    36. Toke Aidt & Bianca Dallal, 2008. "Female voting power: the contribution of women’s suffrage to the growth of social spending in Western Europe (1869–1960)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 391-417, March.
    37. Combs, Mary Beth, 2005. "A Measure of Legal Independence : The 1870 Married Women's Property Act and the Portfolio Allocations of British Wives," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 1028-1057, December.
    38. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Brollo, Fernanda & Troiano, Ugo, 2016. "What happens when a woman wins an election? Evidence from close races in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 28-45.
    3. Sofia Amaral, 2015. "Do Improved Property Rights Decrease Violence Against Women in India?," Discussion Papers 15-10, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    4. Raymond B. Frempong & David Stadelmann, 2017. "Does Female Education have a Bargaining Effect on Household Welfare? Evidence from Ghana and Uganda," CREMA Working Paper Series 2017-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. 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.
    6. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Does Central Europe Import the Missing Women Phenomenon?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    7. Olukorede Abiona & Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2016. "The Impact of Household Shocks on Domestic Violence: Evidence from Tanzania," Discussion Papers in Economics 16/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    8. Bandiera, Oriana. & Buehren, Niklas. & Burgess, Robin. & Goldstein, Markus. & Gulesci, Selim. & Rasul, Imran. & Sulaiman, Munshi., 2015. "Women’s economic empowerment in action : evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa," ILO Working Papers 994874053402676, International Labour Organization.
    9. Gutmann, Jerg & Neuenkirch, Matthias & Neumeier, Florian, 2016. "Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights," ILE Working Paper Series 2, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    10. Michaela Slotwinski & Alois Stutzer, 2018. "Women Leaving the Playpen: The Emancipating Role of Female Suffrage," CESifo Working Paper Series 7002, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. 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.
    12. Anna Maria Koukal & Reiner Eichenberger, 2017. "Explaining a Paradox of Democracy: The Role of Institutions in Female Enfranchisement," CREMA Working Paper Series 2017-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    13. repec:dem:demres:v:38:y:2018:i:35 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9353-x is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:zbw:rwirep:0501 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:4:y:2012:p:339-372. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (http://www.annualreviews.org). General contact details of provider: http://www.annualreviews.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.