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Gender and Social Norms

Age sets and accountability

Abstract: This document is the second of two progress reports that provide an overview of the progress made on the DFID RA4 project “Social structures, political accountability, and effective public goods provision.” Our study is interested in better understanding how…

Female Genital Cutting and the Slave Trade

Abstract: We investigate the historical origins of female genital cutting (FGC), a harmful practice widespread across Africa. We test the hypothesis -substantiated by historical sources – that FGC was connected to the Red Sea slave trade route, where women were…

Economic persistence in face of adversity: Evidence from Kyrgyz tribes through Soviet times

Abstract: We study the role of traditional institutions of tribes and clans – large groups of people sharing an identity based on common lineage – in determining long-run differences in economic trajectories at sub-national level. Using a combination of rich…

Economic persistence despite adverse policies: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan

Abstract: We study the long-run persistence of relative economic well-being in the face of highly adverse government policies using a combination of rich historical and contemporaneous data sources from Kyrgyzstan. Even after controlling for unobservable local effects, the economic well-being…

Asset ownership and female empowerment: evidence from a natural experiment in Pakistan

Abstract: In this study, we exploit a natural experiment to investigate the size and nature of the gender asset gap in Pakistan. In 2010, there was a massive flood, which affected nearly a fifth of the country, and caused a…

Information gaps and de jure legal rights: Evidence from Pakistan

In this paper, we study a large scale effort to improve the information environment in a key area of legal rights: women’s rights in marriage. The degree of freedom that women enjoy over key life choices such as whether, when…

The Threat to Female Adolescent Development from Covid-19

In developing countries with strongly patriarchal norms, the socio-economic opportunities and choices of adolescent girls and young women often lie in a contested area, subject to the influence of both traditional institutions and the modern state and its partners. While…

The Power of Women’s Collective Action

For decades, women in India have been largely absent from public life and substantially under-represented in political institutions. As a country founded on the ideals of localized democracy, this has meant that the voices of roughly half of the population…

Research Insight: Can child marriage law change attitudes and behaviour? (Bangladesh)

Experimental Evidence from an Information Intervention in Bangladesh. As part of an EDI case study on early marriage in Bangladesh, we conducted a randomised information intervention in 80 villages following a recent change in child marriage law in the country….

Women’s Promotions and Intra-Household Bargaining: Evidence from Bangladesh

This paper investigates how women’s promotions in the workplace affect bargaining in the household. I exploit the design of a promotion programme for women in 27 Bangladeshi garment factories, by comparing women who were quasi-randomly selected for the programme to…

Research Insight: Female Genital Cutting and the Slave Trade

We test the hypothesis that the slave trade was one of the contributing factors for the spread of female genital cutting (FGC). In the Red-Sea route female slaves were sold as concubines and infibulation was used to ensure chastity. We…

Learning What to Look For: Hard Measures of Soft Skills in Promotion

Abstract: We report the results of a field experiment designed to promote women to supervisory positions in Bangladesh’s garment factories, with which participating factories have little prior experience. We show that formal diagnostic tests lead factories to choose candidates that…

Women’s land rights and village councils in Tanzania

Abstract: This paper studies the land property rights of married women using a diagnostic survey on women’s land property rights and Village Councils in rural Tanzania (VI-LART). Women own little property independently of their husbands. This puts them at particular…

How does institutional reform affect social norms around marriage and women’s rights?

Zaki Wahhaj (Member, Advisory Group – Family Gender Conflict), Francois Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics, Research Director EDI), and Kate Vyborny (Duke University) discuss the unintended effects of new laws on the legal age of marriage in rural Bangladesh, and…

Child marriage law, gender norms and marriage customs (Bangladesh)

Abstract: The negative welfare consequences of child marriage are well established, but the phenomenon is still ubiquitous in developing countries, where one in three girls is married before the age of 18. Although most countries have a legal minimum age of marriage…

Event: “Sharing Solutions” – Institutional reform and de facto women’s rights

Kate Vyborny presents her research on a project that explores how women in Pakistan can get access to the rights that they legally have. She looks particularly at the legal rights that are understood and established around marriage contracts. This…

Institutional reform and de facto women’s rights

A presentation by Erica Field and Kate Vyborny This presentation was part of the convening event hosted by CEGA at the University of California, Berkeley, in August 2018. Read a summary of the event.

Justice for All? Assessing ‘What Works’ to Improve Women’s Access to Legal Services

A Policy Brief Prepared for the World Bank’s 2017 Law, Justice and Development Week October 2017. Economic inequalities divide men and women around the world. Women on average earn just 60-70% of what their male counterparts earn. They are less likely to participate…

Gender Policy Brief

This brief, based on Klasen’s path-finding paper titled ‘Gender, Institutions and Economic Development: Findings, Open Research and Policy Issues’ focuses on the way he treats gender gaps as the outcome of institutional features, formal and informal.  And on how formal institutions, informal…

Formal and Informal Market Institutions: Embeddedness

Market exchange involves many cognitive and non-cognitive processes, e.g., search, inference, prediction, negotiation. Much attention has been devoted to these issues both in theory and in experimental economics. I focus on the enforcement of market transactions against opportunistic behavior. I…

Culture, Institutions, and Development

This paper presents a survey of the literature on culture in economics, emphasizing the effects of culture as well as the origins of cultural development. Research finds culture to have a large set of effects on economic behaviors, outcomes and …

The Dynamics of Family Systems: Lessons from Past and Present Times

This paper reviews the economic literature on how family systems respond to changes in resource endowments, outside economic opportunities, the development of markets, and surrounding institutions. On topics where economic contributions are scarce, we also provide insights from other disciplines,…

Conflict and Development

In this review, we examine the links between economic development and social conflict. By economic development, we refer broadly to aggregate changes in per-capita income and wealth, or in the distribution of that wealth. By social conflict, we refer to…

Gender Institutions, and Economic Development

Gender relations are a key institution governing important aspects of production and reproduction of societies. They are guided by formal institutions as well as informal norms and values. As this survey shows, there is great regional heterogeneity in gender inequality…

Group inequality in democracies: lessons from cross-national experiences

Group inequality is a prominent feature of many modern democracies. The purpose of this paper is to take stock of what we know about the ways in which major democracies have viewed social groups and addressed inequalities between them. Countries…

Media as a Tool for Institutional Change in Development

This paper reviews the channels through which the media can be a tool of institutional development, building the argument in two parts. First I focus on the media as a tool for accountability: by providing information on candidates ex ante,…

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