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Women, Medieval Commerce, and the Education Gender Gap

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  • Graziella Bertocchi

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  • Monica Bozzano

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Abstract

We investigate the historical determinants of the education gender gap in Italy in the late nineteenth century, immediately following the country’s Unification. We use a comprehensive newly-assembled database including 69 provinces over twenty-year sub-samples covering the 1861-1901 period. We find robust evidence that female primary school attainment, relative to that of males, is positively associated with the medieval pattern of commerce, along the routes that connected Italian cities among themselves and with the rest of the world. The effect of medieval commerce is particularly strong at the non-compulsory upperprimary level and persists even after controlling for alternative long-term determinants reflecting the geographic, economic, political, and cultural differentiation of medieval Italy. The long-term influence of medieval commerce quickly dissipates after national compulsory primary schooling is imposed at Unification, suggesting that the channel of transmission was the larger provision of education for girls in commercial centers.

Suggested Citation

  • Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2013. "Women, Medieval Commerce, and the Education Gender Gap," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 088, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:recent:088
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    Cited by:

    1. Graziella Bertocchi & Monica Bozzano, 2016. "Origins and implications of family structure across Italian provinces in historical perspective," Department of Economics 0095, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    2. 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.
    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. Bozzano, Monica, 2017. "On the historical roots of women's empowerment across Italian provinces: religion or family culture?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 24-46.
    5. Monica Bozzano, 2015. "On the Historical Roots of Women’s Empowerment across Italian Provinces: Religion or Family Culture?," Department of Economics 0052, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education gender gap; medieval commerce; Italian Unification; political institutions; family types;

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • 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

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