Men. Roots and Consequences of Masculinity Norms
56 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2018 Last revised: 28 May 2021
Date Written: April 22, 2021
We document the historical roots and contemporary consequences of masculinity norms: beliefs about the proper conduct of men. We exploit a natural experiment in which convict transportation in the 18th and 19th centuries created a variegated spatial pattern of sex ratios across Australia. Areas that were heavily male-biased in the past (though not the present) remain characterized by more violence, higher rates of male suicide and other forms of preventable male mortality, and more male-stereotypical occupational segregation. Further evidence indicates that in these historically male-biased areas, more Australians recently voted against same-sex marriage and that boys—but not girls—are more likely to be bullied in school. We interpret these results as manifestations of masculinity norms that emerged due to intense local male-male competition and that are distinct from traditional gender norms about women. Once established, masculinity norms have persisted over time through family socialization as well as peer socialization in schools.
Keywords: Masculinity, sex ratio, natural experiment, cultural persistence
JEL Classification: I31, J12, J16, N37, O10, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation