IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ctl/louvir/2019013.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Roots of Gender Equality: the Persistent Effect of Beguinages on Attitudes Toward Women

Author

Listed:
  • Annalisa Frigo

    () (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

  • Eric Roca Fernandez

    (Aix-Marseille Univ., CNRS, EHESS, Centrale Marseille, AMSE, Marseille, France)

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the historical roots of gender equality. It proposes and empirically assesses a new determinant of gender equality: gender-specific outside options in the marriage market. In particular, enlarging women's options besides marriage - even if only temporarily - increases their bargaining power with respect to men, leading to a persistent improvement in gender equality. We illustrate this mechanism focusing on Belgium, and relate gender-equality levels in the 19th century to the presence of medieval, female-only communities called beguinages that allowed women to remain single amidst a society that traditionally advocated marriage. Combining geo-referenced data on beguinal communities with 19th-century census data, we document that the presence of beguinages was instrumental in decreasing the gender gap in literacy. The reduction is sizeable, amounting to a 5.3 % drop in gender educational inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Annalisa Frigo & Eric Roca Fernandez, 2019. "Roots of Gender Equality: the Persistent Effect of Beguinages on Attitudes Toward Women," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2019013, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2019013
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://sites.uclouvain.be/econ/DP/IRES/2019013.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ana Tur-Prats, 2019. "Family Types and Intimate Partner Violence: A Historical Perspective," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(5), pages 878-891, December.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano, 2010. "The power of the family," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 93-125, June.
    3. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Persecution Perpetuated: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Violence in Nazi Germany," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1339-1392.
    4. Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2017. "Understanding Cultural Persistence and Change," NBER Working Papers 23617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Oded Galor & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Agricultural Origins of Time Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3064-3103, October.
    6. Carmichael, Sarah G. & de Pleijt, Alexandra & van Zanden, Jan Luiten & De Moor, Tine, 2016. "The European Marriage Pattern and Its Measurement," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 196-204, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Paola Giuliano & Nathan Nunn, 2013. "On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 469-530.
    9. 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.
    10. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, September.
    11. Felipe Valencia Caicedo, 2019. "The Mission: Human Capital Transmission, Economic Persistence, and Culture in South America," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 134(1), pages 507-556.
    12. 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.
    13. Sascha Becker & Ludger Woessmann & Sascha O. Becker, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in 19th Century Prussia," CESifo Working Paper Series 2414, CESifo.
    14. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    15. Sascha O. Becker & Katrin Boeckh & Christa Hainz & Ludger Woessmann, 2016. "The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire! Long‐Run Persistence of Trust and Corruption in the Bureaucracy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 40-74, February.
    16. Julia Cagé & Valeria Rueda, 2016. "The Long-Term Effects of the Printing Press in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 69-99, July.
    17. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2009. "Women's Liberation: What's in It for Men?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1541-1591.
    18. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
    19. Seema Jayachandran, 2015. "The Roots of Gender Inequality in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 63-88, August.
    20. 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.
    21. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    22. Stephan Klasen & Francesca Lamanna, 2009. "The Impact of Gender Inequality in Education and Employment on Economic Growth: New Evidence for a Panel of Countries," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 91-132.
    23. 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.
    24. Bratti, Massimiliano & Deiana, Claudio & Havari, Enkelejda & Mazzarella, Gianluca & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2017. "What Are You Voting For? Proximity to Refugee Reception Centres and Voting in the 2016 Italian Constitutional Referendum," IZA Discussion Papers 11060, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    25. Waldinger, Maria, 2017. "The long-run effects of missionary orders in Mexico," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68841, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    26. Sara Lowes & Nathan Nunn & James A. Robinson & Jonathan L. Weigel, 2017. "The Evolution of Culture and Institutions: Evidence From the Kuba Kingdom," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 1065-1091, July.
    27. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2008. "Luther and the Girls: Religious Denomination and the Female Education Gap in Nineteenth‐century Prussia," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 777-805, December.
    28. repec:hrv:faseco:33077826 is not listed on IDEAS
    29. Waldinger, Maria, 2017. "The long-run effects of missionary orders in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 355-378.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Eder, Christoph & Halla, Martin, 2020. "Economic origins of cultural norms: The case of animal husbandry and bastardy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    2. Helmut Rainer & Clara Albrecht & Stefan Bauernschuster & Anita Fichtl & Timo Hener & Joachim Ragnitz, 2018. "Deutschland 2017 - Studie zu den Einstellungen und Verhaltensweisen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger im vereinigten Deutschland," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 96, October.
    3. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2015. "Family Structure and the Education Gender Gap: Evidence from Italian Provinces," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 263-300.
    4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Bozzano, Monica, 2016. "Women, medieval commerce, and the education gender gap," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 496-521.
    5. Chaudhary, Latika & Rubin, Jared & Iyer, Sriya & Shrivastava, Anand, 2020. "Culture and colonial legacy: Evidence from public goods games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 107-129.
    6. Giuliano, Paola, 2017. "Gender: An Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 12183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Gender equity and the escape from poverty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 55-74.
    8. Brodeur, Abel & Mabeu, Marie Christelle & Pongou, Roland, 2020. "Ancestral Norms, Legal Origins, and Female Empowerment," IZA Discussion Papers 13105, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Pamela Campa & Michel Serafinelli, 2019. "Politico-Economic Regimes and Attitudes: Female Workers under State Socialism," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 233-248, May.
    10. 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.
    11. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1789-1891, Elsevier.
    12. Melissa Dell & Nathan Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2018. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(6), pages 2083-2121, November.
    13. Andrew Dickens, 2020. "Understanding Ethnic Differences: The Roles of Geography and Trade," Working Papers 1901, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    14. Bau, Natalie, 2019. "Can Policy Change Culture? Government Pension Plans and Traditional Kinship Practices," CEPR Discussion Papers 13486, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    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. Leonardo M. Klüppel & Lamar Pierce & Jason A. Snyder, 2018. "Perspective—The Deep Historical Roots of Organization and Strategy: Traumatic Shocks, Culture, and Institutions," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 702-721, August.
    17. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.
    18. Abel Brodeur & Joanne Haddad, 2018. "Institutions, Attitudes and LGBT: Evidence from the Gold Rush," Working Papers 1808E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    19. Fenske, James, 2015. "African polygamy: Past and present," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 58-73.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Persistence; Culture; Institutions; Religion; Gender Gap;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

    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:ctl:louvir:2019013. 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: (Virginie LEBLANC). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/iruclbe.html .

    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.