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On the historical roots of women's empowerment across Italian provinces: religion or family culture?

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  • Bozzano, Monica

Abstract

Why do women's economic decision-making and political empowerment vary so widely? What are the main potential determinants of such variations? Over a cross-section of Italian provincial data, we analyze 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, and the religious and cultural conditions which facilitate or hinder women's inclusion. 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. 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.

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  • Bozzano, Monica, 2017. "On the historical roots of women's empowerment across Italian provinces: religion or family culture?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 24-46.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:24-46
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.12.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2016. "Origins and implications of family structure across Italian provinces in historical perspective," Department of Economics 0095, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    2. Bertocchi, Graziella & Bozzano, Monica, 2016. "Origins and implications of family structure across Italian provinces in historical perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 11617, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. repec:fan:macoma:v:html10.3280/maco2017-002007 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Women's empowerment; Politics; Glass ceiling; Religion; Family culture; Historical determinants;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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