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Gender Inequality, Endogenous Cultural Norms and Economic Development


  • Victor Hiller

    () (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


This research focuses on the role played by cultural norms in the long run persistence of gender inequalities. Cultural norms about gender roles are considered to be endogenous and can generate gender inequality and low development traps. Indeed, when the gender gap is internalized, it leads to inegalitarian views about gender roles. Due to these inegalitarian beliefs, boys receive more education and the initial gender gap is reinforced. The existence of gender inequality traps is pointed out by the World Bank as a major obstacle for economic development (WDR 2006). The present article allows for a better understanding of the persistence of such traps and the means to escape.

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Hiller, 2008. "Gender Inequality, Endogenous Cultural Norms and Economic Development," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00344793, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00344793
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cooray, Arusha & Potrafke, Niklas, 2011. "Gender inequality in education: Political institutions or culture and religion?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 268-280, June.
    2. 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.
    3. de la Croix, David & Doepke, Matthias, 2004. "Public versus private education when differential fertility matters," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 607-629, April.
    4. Kathryn Anderson & Elizabeth King & Yan Wang, 2003. "Market Returns, Transfers and Demand for Schooling in Malaysia, 1976-89," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 1-28.
    5. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    6. Cagatay, Nilufer & Ozler, Sule, 1995. "Feminization of the labor force: The effects of long-term development and structural adjustment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(11), pages 1883-1894, November.
    7. repec:hrv:faseco:33077826 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Strulik, Holger, 2015. "Desire and Development," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112818, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Rainald Borck, 2014. "Adieu Rabenmutter—culture, fertility, female labour supply, the gender wage gap and childcare," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 739-765, July.
    3. Hiller, Victor & Baudin, Thomas, 2016. "Cultural transmission and the evolution of gender roles," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 8-23.
    4. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Gender equity and the escape from poverty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 55-74.
    5. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 2018. "A Theory of Social Norms, Women's Time Allocation, and Gender Inequality in the Process of Development," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 237, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    6. Ulrike Jäger, 2010. "Working or stay-at-home mum? The influence of family benefits and religiosity," ifo Working Paper Series 84, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    7. Bloom, David E. & Kuhn, Michael & Prettner, Klaus, 2015. "The contribution of female health to economic development," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 02/2015, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    8. Delprato, Marcos & Akyeampong, Kwame & Dunne, Máiréad, 2017. "Intergenerational Education Effects of Early Marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 173-192.
    9. Rainald Borck, 2011. "Adieu Rabenmutter - The Effect of Culture on Fertility, Female Labour Supply, the Gender Wage Gap and Childcare," CESifo Working Paper Series 3337, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Gender equality; endogenous cultural norms; economics development; inequality traps; Egalité entre les sexes; normes culturelles endogènes; développement économique; trappes à inégalité;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General


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