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Political regimes and the family: How sex-role attitudes continue to differ in reunified Germany

  • Bauernschuster, Stefan
  • Rainer, Helmut

We exploit the German separation and later reunification to investigate whether political regimes can shape attitudes about appropriate roles for women in the family and the labor market. During the divided years, East German institutions encouraged female employment, while the West German system deterred women, in particular mothers, from full-time employment. Our results show that East Germans are significantly more likely to hold egalitarian sex-role attitudes than West Germans. Despite a scenario of partial policy convergence after reunification, we find no evidence for a convergence process in gender attitudes. Indeed, if anything, the gap in attitudes rather increased.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20152.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Population Economics 1 25(2011): pp. 5-27
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20152
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  1. Stefan Bauernschuster & Oliver Falck & Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich, 2009. "The Shadows of the Past - How Implicit Institutions Influence Entrepreneurship," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-044, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Helmut Rainer & Thomas Siedler, 2006. "Does Democracy Foster Trust?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 609, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Fuchs-Schundeln, Nicola & Alesina, Alberto, 2007. "Good-Bye Lenin (Or Not?): The Effect of Communism on People's Preferences," Scholarly Articles 4553032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Henriette Engelhardt & Heike Trappe & Jaap Dronkers, 2002. "Differences in family policy and the intergenerational transmission of divorce: a comparison between the former East and West Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  5. Becker, Sascha O. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2007. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," IZA Discussion Papers 2886, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Henriette Engelhardt & Heike Trappe & Jaap Dronkers, 2002. "Differences in Family Policies and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 6(11), pages 295-324, May.
  7. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  8. Miki Kohara, 2010. "The response of Japanese wives’ labor supply to husbands’ job loss," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 1133-1149, September.
  9. Daiji Kawaguchi & Junko Miyazaki, 2009. "Working mothers and sons’ preferences regarding female labor supply: direct evidence from stated preferences," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 115-130, January.
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