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The Role of Women in Traditional Agriculture: Evidence From Italy

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  • Federico, Giovanni
  • Martinelli, Pablo

Abstract

Gender roles in the past may affect current perceptions of the 'rightful' place of women in the society, with potential major consequences on economic development. This paper explores the historical roots of gender roles by focusing on female work in agriculture, which accounted for most employment in traditional societies. We rely on a newly compiled data-set of female occupation and crop mix for Italy in the 1930s. We show that crop mix did determine the level of female gainful employment in a complex way. Some products could be classified either ‘male-intensive’ (like wheat and cow milk) or ‘female-intensive’ (like corn and beef), but quite a few were largely ‘gender-neutral’ (like wine and oil).

Suggested Citation

  • Federico, Giovanni & Martinelli, Pablo, 2015. "The Role of Women in Traditional Agriculture: Evidence From Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 10881, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10881
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Giovanni Federico, 2005. "Introduction to Feeding the World: An Economic History of World Agriculture, 1800-2000," Introductory Chapters,in: Feeding the World: An Economic History of World Agriculture, 1800-2000 Princeton University Press.
    2. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
    5. Nico Voigtl?nder & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "How the West "Invented" Fertility Restriction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2227-2264, October.
    6. Olsson, Ola & Paik, Christopher, 2015. "Long-Run Cultural Divergence: Evidence From the Neolithic Revolution," Working Papers in Economics 620, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    7. 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.
    8. Koen Deconinck & Marijke Verpoorten, 2013. "Narrow and scientific replication of ‘The slave trade and the origins of mistrust in Africa'," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 166-169, January.
    9. Pablo Martinelli, 2014. "Editor's choice Von Thünen south of the Alps: access to markets and interwar Italian agriculture," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 107-143.
    10. Casper Hansen & Peter Jensen & Christian Skovsgaard, 2015. "Modern gender roles and agricultural history: the Neolithic inheritance," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 365-404, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giulia Mancini, 2018. "Women's Labor Force Participation in Italy, 1861-2011," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 3-68.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agriculture; gender roles; Italy;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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