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Essays in gender economics

Lee, Jay Euijung (2020) Essays in gender economics. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004189


This thesis investigates how gender norms limit women’s opportunities or hinder their performance, using a combination of macro and micro approaches. The first chapter quantifies the cost for aggregate economic output of conservative norms, which glue married women to the home. I develop a model of education, marriage, and labor force participation. I use the model and U.S. census data from 1940 to 2010 to estimate the homemaker norms wedge, which affects how married women discount their market wage when choosing between market work and home production. I then use the model to conduct counterfactual exercises, by taking current American families and assigning them different values of norms wedges. With norms wedges of 1940, aggregate output in 2010 falls by 3.5%; half of this decline is driven by lower education levels and the other half by an inefficient allocation of labor. The second chapter studies how highly male-dominated political parties react to the introduction of gender quotas in the context of South Korean municipal council elections. The results show that parties that are more intensely affected by the quota initially counter its effect by putting forth fewer female candidates where they can. However, those parties gradually increase the number of female candidates and three election cycles later, they field more female candidates – over and above the quota rules. The evidence suggests that this evolving response stems from parties becoming more favorably disposed towards women candidates, as they learn about the competence of women councilors. The third chapter estimates the afore-mentioned homemaker norms wedges for various countries around the world. It demonstrates that there is substantial cross-country variation and shows that differences in cultures regarding gender roles is an important explanatory factor.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Jay Euijung Lee
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Ghatak, Maitreesh and Michaels, Guy

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