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Breaking down the wall between nature and nurture: An exploration of gendered work preferences in East and West Germany

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  • Görges, Luise
  • Beblo, Miriam

Abstract

We study a possible nurture effect of political systems on the evolution of gender differences in work preferences by exploiting the 41-year division of Germany and its reunification in 1990 as a natural experiment. We investigate whether disparate political and social systems produced different gender gaps in preferences with respect to work and specific job attributes (high income, promotion opportunities) as, e.g., the higher female labour force participation in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) suggests. Based on the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) in years 1991, 1998/2000 and 2010/2012, our analyses reveal substantial differences between East and West gender gaps in preferences for work directly after reunification and hardly any convergence over the following 20 years. Regarding job attributes, gender-specific preferences in 1991 do not differ between East and West regions. Until 2010, the gaps vanish in the East but remain stable, or even widen, in the West. Cohort analyses confirm that the effect is driven by respondents who lived their adolescence in separated Germany. Accordingly, our results provide strong evidence for the impact of nurture on preference formation, while age and length of exposure are important determinants of the extent of such impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Görges, Luise & Beblo, Miriam, 2015. "Breaking down the wall between nature and nurture: An exploration of gendered work preferences in East and West Germany," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112825, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:112825
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:tpr:restat:v:101:y:2019:i:2:p:233-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Pamela Campa & Michel Serafinelli, 2016. "Politico-Economic Regimes And Attitudes: Female Workers Under State-Socialism Abstract: This paper investigates the extent to which attitudes are affected by political regimes and government policies.," Working Papers 089, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    3. Pannenberg, Markus & Friehe, Tim, 2017. "Time preferences and political regimes: Evidence from reunified Germany," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168173, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Pamela Campa & Michel Serafinelli, "undated". "Politico-Economic Regimes and Attitudes: Female Workers Under State-Socialism," Working Papers 2015-25, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 29 Nov 2015.
    5. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:3:p:874-888 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General

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