176 research outputs found

    Pill Power: The Prequel

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    Goldin and Katz [2002], in an influential paper, argued that giving unmarried minors access to the contraceptive Pill was instrumental for women's professional advancement, because such access allowed marriage to be postponed. However, by 1960, married women could get the Pill and thence it is not clear why early marriage would interfere with the pursuit of professional interests. We explore the effects of this alternative, earlier, and common, route to the Pill. Using variation in state minimum-age marriage laws (EMA), we find that EMA precipitated marriage, delayed fertility within marriage, and improved the educational and occupational outcomes of women, especially non-college women. Thus, fertility control, marriage notwithstanding, emerges as a key enabler of women's educational and professional advancement.education, marriage, contraceptive pill, occupation

    Hermaphroditism: What’s not to Like?

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    Male and female social roles are largely predicated on the fact that male and female reproductive functions are separated in different individuals. This paper asks why gonochorism rather than hermaphroditism, is the rule among vertebrates. We argue that hermaphroditism may be unstable in the face of heterogeneity. Building on the Bateman principle – access to eggs, not sperm, limits reproductive success – and in line with Trivers-Willard, we show that low quality individuals will prefer to be all female. Moreover, without secondary sexual differentiation (SSD), males cannot exist in equilibrium. With sufficient SSD, however, males may outcompete hermaphrodites. As a result, while hermaphrodites may coexist with males and females, they mate among themselves only. The lack of interbreeding between hermaphrodites and gonochorists may form the basis for further speciation. Furthermore, while hermaphrodites strive to mate their male function and preserve their female function, equilibrium hermaphroditic mating is reciprocal. Reciprocal mating, in turn, makes hermaphrodites vulnerable to male-to-male violence, a form of SSD that may have contributed to the rarity of hermaphroditism.

    Women, Wealth and Mobility

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    The extent of and changes in inter-generational mobility of wealth are central to understanding dynamics of wealth inequality but hard to measure. Using estate tax returns data, we observe that the share of women among the very wealthy (top 0.01%) in the United States peaked in the late 1960s, reaching almost 50%. Three decades on, women's share had declined to one third, a return to pre-war levels. We argue that this pattern mirrors the relative importance of inherited vs. self-made wealth in the economy and thus the gender-composition of the wealthiest may serve as a proxy for inter-generational wealth mobility. This proxy for "dynastic wealth'' suggests that wealth mobility in the past century decreased until the 1970s and rose thereafter, a pattern consistent with technological change driving long term trends in income inequality and mobility. Greater wealth mobility in recent decades is also consistent with the simultaneous rise in top income shares and relatively stable wealth concentration.

    Gender politics: The political salience of marriage

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    The last three decades have witnessed the rise of a political gender gap in the United States wherein more women than men favor the Democratic party. We trace this development to the decline in marriage, which we posit has made men richer and women poorer. Data for the United States support this argument. First, there is a strong positive correlation between state divorce prevalence and the political gender gap - higher divorce prevalence reduces support for the Democrats among men but not women. Second, longitudinal data show that following marriage (divorce), women are less (more) likely to support the Democratic party

    Son Preference, Sex Selection and Economic Development

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    Motivated by high and rising sex ratios in countries such as India and China, we formulate a theoretical framework for analyzing the impact of economic development on parental sex choice when sons are culturally prized and children provide old age support. Two key assumptions drive our model. First, the cultural valuation of children varies not only with gender but also with marital status. In particular, while a married son is preferred to a married daughter, the latter is preferred to an unmarried son. Second, we assume that faced with a shortage of brides, poor parents will have a harder time marrying their sons than rich parents. Our model predicts male sex ratios at low levels of development, where the surplus sons are chosen by the poorest who forego grandchildren for old age support. With development, incomes and the bride price rise, allowing the poorest reproductive children. Consequently, sex ratios fall, and the relationship between parental income and offspring maleness turns positive. We also present corroborative evidence from South Korea, a now developed country which shares with India and China a strong patriarchal culture and a recent past of poverty

    Son preference, sex selection and economic development

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