Undoing Gender with Institutions: Lessons from the German Division and Reunification

109 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by Quentin Lippmann

Quentin Lippmann

Paris School of Economics

Alexandre Georgieff

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Claudia Senik

National Center for Scientific Research - Department and Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Economics (DELTA); Universite Paris IV Sorbonne; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

Using the 41-year division of Germany as a natural experiment, we show that the GDR's gender-equal institutions created a culture that has undone the male breadwinner norm and its consequences. Since reunification, East Germany still differs from West Germany not only by a higher female contribution to household income, but also because East German women can earn more than their husbands without having to increase their number of housework hours, put their marriage at risk or withdraw from the labor market. By contrast, the norm of higher male income, and its consequences, are still prevalent in West Germany.

Keywords: gender norms, culture, institutions, German division, family, housework, divorce, labor market

JEL Classification: D13, I31, J16, P51, Z1

Suggested Citation

Lippmann, Quentin and Georgieff, Alexandre and Senik, Claudia, Undoing Gender with Institutions: Lessons from the German Division and Reunification (March 2019). IZA Discussion Paper No. 12212. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390199

Quentin Lippmann

Paris School of Economics ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Alexandre Georgieff

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Claudia Senik (Contact Author)

National Center for Scientific Research - Department and Laboratory of Applied and Theoretical Economics (DELTA) ( email )

ENS, 48, bd Jourdan
75014 Paris
France
+33 1 4313 6312 (Phone)

Universite Paris IV Sorbonne

Department of Economics
75230 Paris Cedex 05
France
01 43 13 63 12 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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