Mothers, Friends and Gender Identity

30 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2013

See all articles by Claudia Olivetti

Claudia Olivetti

Boston College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eleonora Patacchini

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics; Stockholm University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2013

Abstract

This paper explores a novel mechanism of gender identity formation. Specifically, we explore how the work behavior of a teenager's own mother, as well as that of her friends' mothers, affect her work decisions in adulthood. The first mechanism is commonly included in economic models. The second, which in social psychology is also emphasized as an important factor in gender identity formation, has so far been overlooked. Accordingly, our key theoretical innovation is how the utility function is modeled. It is assumed that an adult woman's work decisions are influenced by her own mother's choices as well as her friends' mothers' choices when she was a teenager, and the interaction between the two. The empirical salience of this behavioral model is tested using a network model specification together with the longitudinal structure of the AddHealth data set. We find that both intergenerational channels positively affect a woman's work hours in adulthood, but the cross effect is negative, indicating the existence of cultural substitutability. That is, the mother's role model effect is larger the more distant she is (in terms of working hours) from the friends' mothers.

Keywords: gender identity, Intergenerational transmission, labor force participation, social networks

JEL Classification: J22, Z13

Suggested Citation

Olivetti, Claudia and Patacchini, Eleonora and Zenou, Yves, Mothers, Friends and Gender Identity (October 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9712. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2346249

Claudia Olivetti (Contact Author)

Boston College ( email )

140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Eleonora Patacchini

Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) ( email )

Via Due Macelli, 73
Rome, 00187
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Australia

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

P.O. Box 5501
S-114 85 Stockholm
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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