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

51 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2015 Last revised: 1 Feb 2017

Victor Gay

University of Chicago, Department of Economics, Students

Daniel L. Hicks

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Estefania Santacreu-Vasut

ESSEC Business School

Amir Shoham

Temple University - Department of Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 31, 2017

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 allows us to shed light on several important mechanisms influencing women’s economic engagement, including the role of bargaining power in the household and the impact of ethnic enclaves. Our results further suggest that language may influence behavior in both of these contexts.

Keywords: Language, Gender, Immigrant Studies

JEL Classification: J16, J21, Z10, J61

Suggested Citation

Gay, Victor and Hicks, Daniel L. and Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania and Shoham, Amir, Decomposing Culture: An Analysis of Gender, Language, and Labor Supply in the Household (January 31, 2017). Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 15-046. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2544396 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2544396

Victor Gay

University of Chicago, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/a/uchicago.edu/victorgay/

Daniel Lee Hicks (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States

Estefania Santacreu-Vasut

ESSEC Business School ( email )

3 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
CS 50105 CERGY
CERGY, CERGY PONTOISE CEDEX 95021
France

Amir Shoham

Temple University - Department of Finance ( email )

Fox School of Business and Management
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
147
rank
157,934
Abstract Views
720
PlumX