Modern Gender Roles and Agricultural History: The Neolithic Inheritance

57 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2012 Last revised: 10 Jan 2015

See all articles by Casper Worm Hansen

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; University of Copenhagen

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Christian Skovsgaard

University of Southern Denmark, Department of Public Health, Danish Centre for Health Economics

Date Written: November 4, 2012

Abstract

This research proposes the hypothesis that societies with long histories of agriculture have less equality in gender roles as a consequence of more patriarchal values and beliefs regarding the proper role of women in society. We test this hypothesis in a world sample of countries, in regions of Europe, and among immigrants and children of immigrants living in the US. This evidence reveals a significant negative relationship between years of agriculture history and female labor force participation rates, as well as other measures of equality in contemporary gender roles. This finding is robust to the inclusion of an extensive set of possible confounders, including historical plough-use and the length of the growing season. We argue that two mechanisms can explain the result: (1) societies with longer agricultural histories had a higher level of technological advancement which in the Malthusian Epoch translated into higher fertility and a diminished role for women outside the home; (2) transition to cereal agriculture requires time consuming processing, and this would tend to be an activity carried out by women.

Keywords: Economic development; culture; gender roles

JEL Classification: J70, N50, O11, O17

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Casper Worm and Jensen, Peter S. and Skovsgaard, Christian, Modern Gender Roles and Agricultural History: The Neolithic Inheritance (November 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2170945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2170945

Casper Worm Hansen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen K, DK 1153
Denmark

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Peter S. Jensen

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK-5230 Odense M, 5230
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://www.sam.sdu.dk/staff/psj

Christian Skovsgaard

University of Southern Denmark, Department of Public Health, Danish Centre for Health Economics ( email )

J. B. Winsløwsvej 9B, 1.
Odense, 5000 C
Denmark

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
547
Abstract Views
4,123
rank
55,211
PlumX Metrics