Patriarchal Norms and Women's Labor Market Outcomes

30 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2021 Last revised: 3 Mar 2023

See all articles by Anirban Mukherjee

Anirban Mukherjee

University of Calcutta - Department of Economics

Sukanya Sarkhel


Date Written: January 10, 2021


Gender discrimination in the labor market is usually seen as the result of the employers' cultural bias. In this paper, we see the issue from a larger perspective by combining both labor market and household decision making together. It is often observed that women, prioritizing their families over their careers, willfully settle for less paying and less demanding job profiles. This leads to gender wage gap even if the employers do not discriminate between male and female employees. We argue that women may make such choices in presence of patriarchal social norms which see household chores as the primary duty of women. Our theoretical model predicts that women coming from families with stronger patriarchal values are more likely to accept less paying (and less demanding) jobs in the labor market than the women from liberal families. Our empirical section that uses a nationally representative survey data from India (IHDS) provides support for our theoretical predictions. Our results are robust to different measures of patriarchal culture. We also show that the marginal effect of patriarchy on women's wage varies across occupations and places of residence.

Keywords: Family culture, gender wage gap, India

JEL Classification: J16, J31, O15

Suggested Citation

Mukherjee, Anirban and Sarkhel, Sukanya, Patriarchal Norms and Women's Labor Market Outcomes (January 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Anirban Mukherjee (Contact Author)

University of Calcutta - Department of Economics ( email )

56A, B.T. Road
Kolkata, 700050

HOME PAGE: http://

Sukanya Sarkhel

St. XAVIER'S COLLEGE ( email )

30 Mother Teresa Sarani
Kolkata, West Bengal 700016


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