Working Papers

The Missing Men: World War I and Female Labor Force Participation

With J. Boehnke. January 2020. Accepted at the Journal of Human Resources.

HAL Id: hal-02523127

[Working paper] [Appendix] [BibTeX]

Abstract

Using spatial variation in World War I military fatalities in France, we show that the scarcity of men due to the war generated an upward shift in female labor force participation that persisted throughout the interwar period. Available data suggest that increased female labor supply accounts for this result. In particular, deteriorated marriage market conditions for single women and negative income shocks to war widows induced many of these women to enter the labor force after the war. In contrast, demand factors such as substitution toward female labor to compensate for the scarcity of male labor were of second-order importance.

Keywords

Female labor, World War I, Sex ratio, Marriage market, Labor supply.

JEL Codes

J12, J16, J22, N34.

The Legacy of the Missing Men: The Long-Run Impact of World War I on Female Labor Force Participation

April 2019

HAL Id: hal-02523129

[Working paper] [Appendix] [Data Appendix] [Supplementary Appendix] [BibTeX]

Abstract

This paper explores the pathways that underlie the diffusion of women’s participation in the labor force across generations. I exploit a severe exogenous shock to the sex ratio, World War I in France, which generated a large inflow of women in the labor force after the war. I show that this shock to female labor transmitted to subsequent generations until today. Three mechanisms of intergenerational transmission account for this result: parental transmission, transmission through marriage, and transmission through local social interactions. Beyond behaviors, the war also permanently altered beliefs toward the role of women in the labor force.

Keywords

Female labor, World War I, Intergenerational transmission, Sex ratio, Social norm.

JEL Codes

J16, J22, N34, Z13.

Articles

No Better Time Than Now: Future Uncertainty and Private Investment Under Dictatorship

With M. Albertus. Economics & Politics, 2019, 31(1), 71–96.

DOI: 10.1111/ecpo.12120 HAL Id: hal-02523101

[Article] [Appendix] [Replication material] [Working paper] [BibTeX]

Abstract

Despite received wisdom that long time horizons and formal institutions can induce private investment under dictatorship, there is substantial investment even in relatively unconstrained regimes. This paper provides a novel explanation for the puzzle of investment in these regimes: economic elites’ uncertainty over expected investment returns under plausible alternative authoritarian successors. We construct a noisy signaling model that captures how uncertainty over which type of authoritarian successor will rule next and uncertainty in the truthfulness of policy promises made by potential autocratic successors might provide incentives for elite investment.

Keywords

Authoritarianism, Political elites, Uncertainty, Investment, Comparative politics, Game theory.

JEL Codes

D8, F21, P16.

Decomposing Culture: An Analysis of Gender, Language, and Labor Supply in the Household

With D. Hicks, E. Santacreu-Vasut and A. Shoham. Review of Economics of the Household, 2018, 16(4), 879–909.

DOI 10.1007/s11150-017-9369-x HAL Id: hal-02523099

[Article] [Appendix] [Replication material] [Working paper] [BibTeX]

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.

Keywords

Language, Gender Gap, Bargaining in the household, Labor force participation, Immigrants.

JEL Codes

F22, J16, Z13.

Unlikely Democrats: Economic Elite Uncertainty under Dictatorship and Support for Democratization

With M. Albertus. American Journal of Political Science, 2017, 61(3), 624–641.

DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12277 HAL Id: hal-02523084

[Article] [Appendix] [Replication material] [AJPS blog] [Working paper] [BibTeX]

Abstract

Influential recent scholarship assumes that authoritarian rulers act as perfect agents of economic elites, foreclosing the possibility that economic elites may at times prefer democracy absent a popular threat from below. Motivated by a puzzling set of democratic transitions, we relax this assumption and examine how elite uncertainty about dictatorship-a novel and generalizable causal mechanism impacting democratization-can induce elite support for democracy. We construct a noisy signaling model in which a potential autocrat attempts to convince economic elites that he will be a faithful partner should elites install him in power. The model generates clear predictions about how two major types of elite uncertainty-uncertainty in a potential autocratic successor's policies produced by variance in the pool of would-be dictator types, and uncertainty in the truthfulness of policy promises made by potential autocratic successors-impact the likelihood of elite-driven democratization. We demonstrate the model's plausibility in a series of cases of democratic transition.

Keywords

Authoritarianism, Political elites, Uncertainty, Democratization, Comparative politics, Game theory.

JEL Codes

D8, P16.

Do Female/Male Distinctions in Language Matter? Evidence from Gender Political Quotas

With E. Santacreu-Vasut and A. Shoham. Applied Economics Letters, 2013, 20(5), 495–498.

DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2012.714062 HAL Id: hal-02523093

[Article] [Voxeu] [Working paper] [BibTeX]

Abstract

This article studies the determinants of gender political quota and enforcement sanctions, two key policy instruments for increasing female participation in politics. We find a novel empirical fact: language (the pervasiveness of gender distinctions in grammar) is the most significant related variable to quota adoption, more than traditional explanations such as economic development, political system and religion.

Keywords

Culture, Development, Gender quotas, Language.

JEL Codes

K00, O17, Z13.

Conference Proceedings

Language and Gender Roles among Immigrants to the U.S.: A Historical Perspective

With D. Hicks and E. Santacreu-Vasut. In P. Paolini (Ed), I Mondi Delle Donne, 165–179. Roma: Edi Cusano, 2016.

HAL Id: hal-02523125

[Working paper] [Appendix] [Voxeu] [BibTeX]

Abstract

ur paper investigates whether historical trends in the labor market participation of immigrant women in the U.S. can be explained in part by variation in the grammatical structure of their language spoken. Using individual-level census data on the labor market behavior of first generation immigrants to the U.S. from 1910 to the present, we show that the presence or absence of grammatical gender in the linguistic structure of a language spoken by an immigrant influences sex-specific behaviors. The originality of our approach is to consider language as a repository for accumulated ancestral culture in an epidemiological framework. Because female labor force participation has greatly increased, institutions have transformed, and motivations and compositions of immigrant flows have changed, studying a long time horizon allows us to more clearly isolate the role of linguistic structure as a cultural institution.

Keywords

Culture, Immigrants, Female labor, Language.

JEL Codes

F22, J16, N32, Z13.

Migration As A Window Into The Coevolution Between Language And Behavior

With D. Hicks and E. Santacreu-Vasut. In S.G. Roberts et al. (Eds), The Evolution of Language: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference (EVOLANG 11), 2016.

HAL Id: hal-02523115

[Article] [BibTeX]

Abstract

Understanding the causes and consequences of language evolution in relation to social factors is challenging as we generally lack a clear picture of how languages coevolve with historical social processes. Research analyzing the relation between language and socioeconomic factors relies on contemporaneous data. Because of this, such analysis may be plagued by spurious correlation concerns coming from the historical co-evolution and dependency of the relationship between language and behavior to the institutional environment. To solve this problem, we propose migrations to the same country as a microevolutionary step that may uncover constraints on behavior. We detail strategies available to other researchers by applying the epidemiological approach to study the correlation between sex-based gender distinctions and female labor force participation. Our main finding is that language must have evolved partly as a result of cultural change, but also that it may have directly constrained the evolution of norms. We conclude by discussing implications for the coevolution of language and behavior, and by comparing different methodological approaches.

Keywords

Culture, Immigrants, Female labor, Language.

JEL Codes

F22, J16, Z13.

Book Review

Gambling on War: Confidence, Fear and the Tragedy of the First World War

By Roger L. Ransom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. Reviewed for EH.Net. April 2019.

HAL Id: hal-02524006

[Review]

Keywords

War, World War I, Military.

JEL Code

N44.

Dissertation

The Legacy of the Missing Men: World War I and Female Labor in France Over a Century

Spring 2018.

HAL Id: tel-02523134

[Dissertation] [Appendix] [BibTeX]

Abstract

In this dissertation, I provide a comprehensive analysis of the short and long-run impact of World War I military fatalities on female labor force participation in France. In chapter 1, I describe the measure of military death rates used throughout the dissertation and explore its sources of systematic variation. In chapter 2, I show that the scarcity of men resulting from the war generated an upward shift in female labor force participation that persisted throughout the interwar period. Increased female labor supply accounts for this result: deteriorated marriage market conditions for single women and negative income shocks to war widows induced many of these women to enter the labor force after the war. In contrast, firms did not increase their demand for female labor to compensate for the scarcity of men. I further show in chapter 3 that this initial shock to female labor transmitted across generations up until today. Three primary mechanisms account for this historical persistence: vertical intergenerational transmission (from mothers and fathers to daughters), transmission through marriage (from husbands to wives, and from mothers in-law to daughters in-law), and oblique intergenerational transmission (from migrants to non-migrants). Consistent with theories of intergenerational transmission, I also provide evidence that World War I military fatalities permanently altered preferences and beliefs toward female labor.

Keywords

Female labor, World War I, Sex ratio, Marriage market, Labor supply, Intergenerational transmission, Social norm.

JEL Codes

J12, J16, J22, N34, Z13.

Doctoral School

University of Chicago, Department of Economics.

Committee

Richard Hornbeck (chair), Steven D. Levitt, Derek A. Neal, and James A. Robinson.

Overall winner of the UChicagoGRAD's Three Minute Thesis Competition 2018 [Video].