IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_7770.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the Economic Origins of Restrictions on Women's Sexuality

Author

Listed:
  • Anke Becker

Abstract

This paper studies the origins and function of customs aimed at restricting women’s sexuality, such as a particularly invasive form of female genital cutting, restrictions on women’s freedom of mobility, and norms about their sexual behavior. The analysis tests the anthropological theory that a particular form of pre-industrial subsistence – pastoralism – favored the adoption of such customs. Pastoralism was characterized by heightened paternity uncertainty due to frequent and often extended periods of male absence from the settlement, implying larger payoffs to imposing restrictions on women’s sexuality. Using within-country variation across 500,000 women in 34 countries, the paper shows that women from historically more pastoral societies (i) are significantly more likely to have undergone infibulation, the most invasive form of female genital cutting; (ii) adhere to more restrictive norms about women’s promiscuity; (iii) are more restricted in their freedom of mobility. Instrumental variable estimations that make use of the ecological determinants of pastoralism support a causal interpretation of the results. The paper further shows that the mechanism behind these patterns is indeed male absence, rather than male dominance, per se, or historical economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Anke Becker, 2019. "On the Economic Origins of Restrictions on Women's Sexuality," CESifo Working Paper Series 7770, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7770
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp7770.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Assaf Sarid & Oded Galor, "undated". "Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures," Working Papers WP2017/4, University of Haifa, Department of Economics.
    2. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-1539, June.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
    4. Paola Giuliano, 2007. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 927-952, September.
    5. Nava Ashraf & Natalie Bau & Nathan Nunn & Alessandra Voena, 2020. "Bride Price and Female Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(2), pages 591-641.
    6. Eliana Carranza, 2014. "Soil Endowments, Female Labor Force Participation, and the Demographic Deficit of Women in India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 197-225, October.
    7. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 127(3), pages 1339-1392.
    8. Ashraf, Nava & Karlan, Dean & Yin, Wesley, 2010. "Female Empowerment: Impact of a Commitment Savings Product in the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 333-344, March.
    9. Marcella Alsan, 2015. "The Effect of the TseTse Fly on African Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 382-410, January.
    10. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    11. Jan Beck & Andrea Sieber, 2010. "Is the Spatial Distribution of Mankind's Most Basic Economic Traits Determined by Climate and Soil Alone?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 5(5), pages 1-10, May.
    12. Lori Beaman & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Rohini Pande & Petia Topalova, 2009. "Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 124(4), pages 1497-1540.
    13. S Anukriti & Sonia Bhalotra & Eddy H F Tam, 2022. "On the Quantity and Quality of Girls: Fertility, Parental Investments and Mortality," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(641), pages 1-36.
    14. Ana Tur-Prats, 2017. "Unemployment and intimate-partner violence: A gender-identity approach," Working Papers 963, Barcelona School of Economics.
    15. Francesco Giavazzi & Ivan Petkov & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2019. "Culture: persistence and evolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 117-154, June.
    16. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    17. Olivetti, Claudia & Paserman, M. Daniele & Salisbury, Laura, 2018. "Three-generation mobility in the United States, 1850–1940: The role of maternal and paternal grandparents," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 73-90.
    18. Emily Oster, 2012. "Routes Of Infection: Exports And Hiv Incidence In Sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1025-1058, October.
    19. Leonardo Bursztyn & Alessandra L. González & David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2018. "Misperceived Social Norms: Female Labor Force Participation in Saudi Arabia," NBER Working Papers 24736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Anderson, Siwan & Eswaran, Mukesh, 2009. "What determines female autonomy? Evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 179-191, November.
    21. Eduardo A. Haddad & Jaime Bonet & Geoffrey J. D. Hewings, 2023. "Introduction and Overview," Advances in Spatial Science, in: Eduardo A. Haddad & Jaime Bonet & Geoffrey J. D. Hewings (ed.), The Colombian Economy and Its Regional Structural Challenges, chapter 0, pages 1-16, Springer.
    22. Schultz, T. Paul, 1995. "Human Capital and Economic Development," 1994 Conference, August 22-29, 1994, Harare, Zimbabwe 183410, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    23. Jonathan F. Schulz, 2016. "The Churches’ Bans on Consanguineous Marriages, Kin-networks and Democracy," Discussion Papers 2016-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    24. Joshua T. Dean & Seema Jayachandran, 2019. "Changing Family Attitudes to Promote Female Employment," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 109, pages 138-142, May.
    25. M. Keith Chen, 2013. "The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 690-731, April.
    26. Boris Branisa & Stephan Klasen & Maria Ziegler, 2009. "The Construction of the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI)," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 184, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    27. Samuel Bazzi & Martin Fiszbein & Mesay Gebresilasse, 2020. "Frontier Culture: The Roots and Persistence of “Rugged Individualism” in the United States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(6), pages 2329-2368, November.
    28. Bellemare, Marc F. & Novak, Lindsey & Steinmetz, Tara L., 2015. "All in the family: Explaining the persistence of female genital cutting in West Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 252-265.
    29. Xue, Melanie Meng, 2018. "High-Value Work and the Rise of Women: The Cotton Revolution and Gender Equality in China," MPRA Paper 91100, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    30. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
    31. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    32. Anna, Petrenko, 2016. "Мaркування готової продукції як складова частина інформаційного забезпечення маркетингової діяльності підприємств овочепродуктового підкомплексу," Agricultural and Resource Economics: International Scientific E-Journal, Agricultural and Resource Economics: International Scientific E-Journal, vol. 2(1), March.
    33. Benjamin Enke, 2019. "Kinship, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Moral Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 134(2), pages 953-1019.
    34. Erica Field & Seema Jayachandran & Rohini Pande, 2010. "Do Traditional Institutions Constrain Female Entrepreneurship? A Field Experiment on Business Training in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 125-129, May.
    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. Baten, Joerg & de Pleijt, Alexandra M., 2022. "Female autonomy generated successful long-term human capital development: Evidence from 16th to 19th century Europe," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 158(C).
    2. Cheng, Nora & Fan, Elliott & Wu, Tsong-Min, 2022. "Sweet unbinding: Sugarcane cultivation and the demise of foot-binding," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    3. Congdon Fors, Heather & Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Lindskog, Annika, 2024. "Changing local customs: The long run impacts of Christian missions on female genital cutting in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C).
    4. Beblo, Miriam & Görges, Luise & Markowsky, Eva, 2020. "Gender Matters in Language and Economic Behaviour: Can we Measure a Causal Cognition Effect of Speaking?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fenske, James & Wang, Shizhuo, 2023. "Tradition and mortality: Evidence from twin infanticide in Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C).
    2. Sutanuka Roy & Sudhir Gupta & Rabee Tourky, 2023. "The Impact of Long–Term Orientation Traits on Pandemic Fatigue Behavior: Evidence from the Columbian Exchange," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 397-438, September.
    3. Oded Galor & Omer Ozak & Assaf Sarid, 2016. "Origins and Consequences of Lanquage Structures," Working Papers 2016-7, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    4. Assaf Sarid & Oded Galor, "undated". "Geographical Origins and Economic Consequences of Language Structures," Working Papers WP2017/4, University of Haifa, Department of Economics.
    5. Benjamin Enke, 2019. "Kinship, Cooperation, and the Evolution of Moral Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 134(2), pages 953-1019.
    6. Fenske, James & Gupta, Bishnupriya & Neumann, Cora, 2022. "Missing women in Colonial India," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1402, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.
    8. Barbara Boelmann & Anna Raute & Uta Schönberg, 2021. "Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 090, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    9. Maseland, Robbert, 2021. "Contingent determinants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    10. Baranov, Victoria & de Haas, Ralph & Grosjean, Pauline, 2018. "Men. Roots and Consequences of Masculinity Norms," Other publications TiSEM 6fa57f55-71bb-42c4-8cc4-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    11. Choi, Jaerim & Lim, Sunghun, 2023. "Ostrom Meets the Pandemic: Lessons from Asian Rice Farming Traditions," 97th Annual Conference, March 27-29, 2023, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 334543, Agricultural Economics Society - AES.
    12. Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2018. "Ancestral Characteristics of Modern Populations," Economic History of Developing Regions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 1-17, January.
    13. Bertocchi, Graziella & Dimico, Arcangelo & Tedeschi, Gian Luca, 2022. "Strangers and Foreigners: Trust and Attitudes toward Citizenship," IZA Discussion Papers 15042, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Thomas Dohmen & Benjamin Enke & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2016. "Patience and the Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 2016-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    15. Fenske, James & Gupta, Bishnupriya & Neumann, Cora, 2022. "Missing women in Colonial India," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 613, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    16. Eder, Christoph & Halla, Martin, 2020. "Economic origins of cultural norms: The case of animal husbandry and bastardy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    17. Johannes C. Buggle, 2020. "Growing collectivism: irrigation, group conformity and technological divergence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 147-193, June.
    18. Seema Jayachandran, 2021. "Social Norms as a Barrier to Women’s Employment in Developing Countries," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 69(3), pages 576-595, September.
    19. Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne, 2021. "Institutions, attitudes and LGBT: Evidence from the gold rush," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 92-110.
    20. Hoang-Anh Ho & Peter Martinsson & Ola Olsson, 2022. "The origins of cultural divergence: evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 45-89, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    infibulation; female sexuality; paternity uncertainty; concern about women’s chastity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:ces:ceswps:_7770. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.