Do Historical Agro-Ecological Factors Shape Current Attitudes Towards Women’s Rights and Abilities?

28 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2023 Last revised: 13 Apr 2023

Date Written: January 24, 2023


A growing strand of literature documents how historical agricultural and ecological factors continue to determine women’s role and well-being in society through cultural transmission even today. Studies have shown that such factors are significantly associated with perceptions regarding women’s right to jobs and their abilities as political leaders. However, scant attention has been paid to women’s ability as business executives and their democratic rights. Using individual level observations from multiple waves of the World Values Survey, this paper investigates whether these historical and ecological factors can explain perceptions regarding women’s democratic rights and their ability as business executives. Overall, our findings support the existing literature and show that historical agricultural and ecological factors (ancestral plough use, Neolithic transition, and ancestral resource endowments) have a much broader impact on women’s rights and abilities in diverse contexts including the labor force, business, and politics. Given the robustness of this phenomenon, it calls for broad affirmative action favoring women in different social spheres.

Keywords: Historical agro-ecological factors, culture, women’s rights and abilities, gender inequality, female labor force participation

JEL Classification: J16, N50, O11

Suggested Citation

Jha, Chandan Kumar and Sarangi, Sudipta and Tripathi, Ishita, Do Historical Agro-Ecological Factors Shape Current Attitudes Towards Women’s Rights and Abilities? (January 24, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Chandan Kumar Jha

Le Moyne College ( email )

Syracuse, NY 13214
United States

Sudipta Sarangi

Virginia Tech ( email )

250 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

Ishita Tripathi (Contact Author)

Ahmedabad University ( email )


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