Gendering Technological Change: Evidence from Agricultural Mechanization

69 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2020

See all articles by Farzana Afridi

Farzana Afridi

Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

Monisankar Bishnu

Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi

Kanika Mahajan

Ashoka University


Technological change in production processes with gendered division of labor across tasks, such as agriculture, can have a differential impact on women's and men's labor. Using exogenous variation in the extent of loamy soil, which is more amenable to deep tillage than clayey soil and therefore more likely to see adoption of tractor driven equipment for primary tilling, we show that mechanization has led to significantly greater decline in women's than men's labor on Indian farms. Reduced demand for labor in weeding, a task that requires precision and is thus more often undertaken by women, explains our findings. The estimates suggest that increased mechanized tilling led to a more than 22% fall in women's agricultural labor in India during 1999-2011. Our results highlight the gendered impact of technological change in contexts where there is sex-specific specialization of labor.

Keywords: gender, specialization of labor, agriculture, technology, mechanization

JEL Classification: J16, J23, J43, O33

Suggested Citation

Afridi, Farzana and Bishnu, Monisankar and Mahajan, Kanika, Gendering Technological Change: Evidence from Agricultural Mechanization. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13712, Available at SSRN: or

Farzana Afridi (Contact Author)

Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata ( email )

203 B.T. Road
Kolkata, West Bengal 700108

Monisankar Bishnu

Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi ( email )

7 S .J. S.
Sansanwal Marg
New Delhi, 110016

HOME PAGE: http://

Kanika Mahajan

Ashoka University ( email )

University Campus, Plot #2,
Rajiv Gandhi Education City
Kundli, Haryana 131028

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