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The Economics and Politics of Women's Rights

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  • Matthias Doepke
  • Michèle Tertilt
  • Alessandra Voena

Abstract

Women's rights and economic development are highly correlated. Today, the discrepancy between the legal rights of women and men is much larger in developing compared to developed countries. Historically, even in countries that are now rich women had few rights before economic development took off. Is development the cause of expanding women's rights, or conversely, do women's rights facilitate development? We argue that there is truth to both hypotheses. The literature on the economic consequences of women's rights documents that more rights for women lead to more spending on health and children, which should benefit development. The political-economy literature on the evolution of women's rights finds that technological change increased the costs of patriarchy for men, and thus contributed to expanding women's rights. Combining these perspectives, we discuss the theory of Doepke and Tertilt (2009), where an increase in the return to human capital induces men to vote for women's rights, which in turn promotes growth in human capital and income per capita.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt & Alessandra Voena, 2011. "The Economics and Politics of Women's Rights," NBER Working Papers 17672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17672 Note: EFG POL
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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    2. Bandiera, Oriana. & Buehren, Niklas. & Burgess, Robin. & Goldstein, Markus. & Gulesci, Selim. & Rasul, Imran. & Sulaiman, Munshi., 2015. "Women’s economic empowerment in action : evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa," ILO Working Papers 994874053402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. Raymond B. Frempong & David Stadelmann, 2017. "Does Female Education have a Bargaining Effect on Household Welfare? Evidence from Ghana and Uganda," CREMA Working Paper Series 2017-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis, 2013. "Femmes au pouvoir et Pouvoir des femmes : Qu’est-ce qui se passe en Afrique ?
      [Women in power and power of women: What is happening in Africa?]
      ," MPRA Paper 48776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Brollo, Fernanda & Troiano, Ugo, 2016. "What happens when a woman wins an election? Evidence from close races in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 28-45.
    6. Sofia Amaral, 2015. "Do Improved Property Rights Decrease Violence Against Women in India?," Discussion Papers 15-10, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    7. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Does Central Europe Import the Missing Women Phenomenon?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    8. Gutmann, Jerg & Neuenkirch, Matthias & Neumeier, Florian, 2016. "Precision-Guided or Blunt? The Effects of US Economic Sanctions on Human Rights," ILE Working Paper Series 2, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    9. Olukorede Abiona & Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner, 2016. "The Impact of Household Shocks on Domestic Violence: Evidence from Tanzania," Discussion Papers in Economics 16/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    10. Anna Maria Koukal & Reiner Eichenberger, 2017. "Explaining a Paradox of Democracy: The Role of Institutions in Female Enfranchisement," CREMA Working Paper Series 2017-13, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    11. Aynur Pala, 2014. "Does Higher Education Reduce Poverty among Youths in Nigeria?," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, January.
    12. repec:zbw:rwirep:0501 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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