Gender and social norms in economic development
Gender and social norms in economic development' analyses gender related issues throughout the development process from an economics point of view. Different issues are examined for countries at different stages of the development process. The issues examined here have a gender component and have to do with participation and social norms. In some cases, the motivation for this differential participation or inequality is the focus of the study; in others, we focus on the economic consequences of this differential participation. In the first chapter, we investigate participation in dowry in a very poor area, namely rural Bangladesh. In that chapter we explore the different possible economic motivations for dowries using household survey information from the Matlab area in rural Bangladesh spanning 1930-1996. We find that dowry participation in the area has increased in recent decades. We also find that religion, coupled with social norms, seems to be an important component in explaining the evolution of dowry. In the second chapter we examine the economic consequences of different participation by gender in the labour market in a poor country - India. We develop a model that suggests distortions in the allocation of talent which we then test with aggregate information by sector using panel data from India's states over 1961-1991. Results suggest that even though implications are different by sector, gender inequality in labour participation in several categories hinders development. In the third chapter, we indirectly study participation of women in top level positions, by analising the different hiring by gender in Spanish public exams. The analysis constitutes a relevant randomised experiment with implications for gender parity rules, or gender quotas. We use information about 75,000 candidates to the judiciary over 1995-2004 who were randomly allocated to evaluating committees. Contrary to expectations behind gender parity rules, we find that recruitment committees with a higher share of women hire fewer women than committees with a higher share of men, suggesting that taste discrimination is not behind the low numbers of women in top level positions.