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Gender, Economic Development and Islam: A Perspective from France


  • Adida, Claire L.

    () (University of California, San Diego)

  • Laitin, David D.

    () (Stanford University)

  • Valfort, Marie-Anne

    () (Paris School of Economics)


Muslims do less well on the French labor market than their non Muslim counterparts. One explanation for this relative failure can be characterized by the following syllogism: (1) the empowerment of women is a sine qua non for economic progress; (2) in-group norms among Muslims do not empower women; and hence (3) Muslim communities will underperform economically relative to non-Muslim communities. This paper, relying on a unique identification strategy that isolates religion from national origin and ethnicity, and on experimental as well as survey evidence collected in France, puts this syllogism to a test. Our data show that Muslim and Christian gender norms are as postulated. However, the correlations between Muslim vs. Christian immigrants and the channels purported to link in-group gender norms to economic progress are weak and inconsistent. Speculations are offered on the intervening variables that mitigate the effect of Muslim gender norms on economic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Adida, Claire L. & Laitin, David D. & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2012. "Gender, Economic Development and Islam: A Perspective from France," IZA Discussion Papers 6421, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6421

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shamsul Abdullah, 2014. "The causes of gender diversity in Malaysian large firms," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 18(4), pages 1137-1159, November.
    2. Fischer, Justina A.V. & Pastore, Francesco, 2015. "Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis: Religion and Female Employment over Time," IZA Discussion Papers 9244, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    development; Islam; gender; discrimination; France; experimental economics;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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