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Decomposing culture: An analysis of gender, language, and labor supply in the household

Author

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  • Gay, Victor
  • Hicks, Daniel L.
  • Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania
  • Shoham, Amir

Abstract

Despite broad progress in closing many dimensions of the gender gap around the globe, recent research has shown that traditional gender roles can still exert a large influence on female labor force participation, even in developed economies. This paper empirically analyzes the role of culture in determining the labor market engagement of women within the context of collective models of household decision making. In particular, we use the epidemiological approach to study the relationship between gender in language and labor market participation among married female immigrants to the U.S. We show that the presence of gender in language can act as a marker for culturally acquired gender roles and that these roles are important determinants of household labor allocations. Female immigrants who speak a language with sex-based grammatical rules exhibit lower labor force participation, hours worked, and weeks worked. Our strategy of isolating one component of culture reveals that roughly two thirds of this relationship can be explained by correlated cultural factors, including the role of bargaining power in the household and the impact of ethnic enclaves, and that at most one third is potentially explained by language having a causal impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Gay, Victor & Hicks, Daniel L. & Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania & Shoham, Amir, 2017. "Decomposing culture: An analysis of gender, language, and labor supply in the household," MPRA Paper 77637, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:77637
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marcén, Miriam & Morales, Marina, 2018. "The effect of culture on home-ownership," GLO Discussion Paper Series 244, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. repec:kap:reveho:v:17:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s11150-018-9431-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:1370-1387 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar & Weber, Clas, 2018. "Talking in the present, caring for the future: Language and environment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1370-1387.
    5. repec:eee:jbvent:v:33:y:2018:i:4:p:395-415 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Culture; Female labor force participation; Immigrants; Language structure; Grammar;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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