Advertisement

Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 879–909 | Cite as

Decomposing culture: an analysis of gender, language, and labor supply in the household

  • Victor Gay
  • Daniel L. Hicks
  • Estefania Santacreu-Vasut
  • Amir Shoham
Article

Abstract

Despite broad progress in closing many dimensions of the gender gap around the globe, recent research has shown that traditional gender roles can still exert a large influence on female labor force participation, even in developed economies. This paper empirically analyzes the role of culture in determining the labor market engagement of women within the context of collective models of household decision making. In particular, we use the epidemiological approach to study the relationship between gender in language and labor market participation among married female immigrants to the U.S. We show that the presence of gender in language can act as a marker for culturally acquired gender roles and that these roles are important determinants of household labor allocations. Female immigrants who speak a language with sex-based grammatical rules exhibit lower labor force participation, hours worked, and weeks worked. Our strategy of isolating one component of culture reveals that roughly two thirds of this relationship can be explained by correlated cultural factors, including the role of bargaining power in the household, and the impact of ethnic enclaves and that at most one third is potentially explained by language having a causal impact.

Keywords

Language Gender gap Bargaining power in the household Labor force participation Immigrants 

JEL Classification

F22 J16 Z13 

Notes

Acknowledgment

XXX

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

References

  1. Adsera, A., & Pytlikova, M. (2015). The role of language in shaping international migration. The Economic Journal, 125(586), F49–F81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alesina, A., Giuliano, P., & Nunn, N. (2013). On the origins of gender roles: Women and the plough. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(2), 469–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aronow, P. M., & Samii, C. (2016). Does regression produce representative estimates of causal effects? American Journal of Political Science, 60(1), 250–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blau, F. D., & Kahn, L. M. (2015). Substitution between individual and source country characteristics: Social capital, culture, and us labor market outcomes among immigrant women. Journal of Human Capital, 9(4), 439–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blau, F., Kahn, L., & Papps, K. (2011). Gender, source country characteristics, and labor market assimilation among immigrants. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(1), 43–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blundell, R., Chiappori, P.-A., Magnac, T., & Meghir, C. (2007). Collective labour supply: Heterogeneity and non-participation. The Review of Economic Studies, 74(2), 417–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen, M. K. (2013). The effect of language on economic behavior: Evidence from savings rates, health behaviors, and retirement assets. American Economic Review, 103(2), 690–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chiappori, P.-A., Fortin, B., & Lacroix, G. (2002). Marriage market, divorce legislation, and household labor supply. Journal of Political Economy, 110(1), 37–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davis, L., & Reynolds, M. (2016). Gendered language and the educational gender gap. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2782540.
  10. Dryer, M., & Haspelmath, M. (2011). The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at http://wals.info).
  11. Edin, P.-A., Fredriksson, P., & Åslund, O. (2003). Ethnic enclaves and the economic success of immigrants evidence from a natural experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(1), 329–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Everett, C. (2013). Linguistic relativity: Evidence across languages and cognitive domains, Vol. 25, Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter GmbH.Google Scholar
  13. Farré, L., & Vella, F. (2013). The intergenerational transmission of gender role attitudes and its implications for female labour force participation. Economica, 80(318), 219–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fernández, R. (2007). Alfred marshall lecture women, work, and culture. Journal of the European Economic Association, 5(2–3), 305–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fernández, R. (2011). Chapter 11 - does culture matter?, Vol. 1 of Handbook of social economics (pp. 481–510). North Holland: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  16. Fernández, R. (2013). Cultural change as learning: The evolution of female labor force participation over a century. The American Economic Review, 103(1), 472–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fernández, R., & Fogli, A. (2009). Culture: An empirical investigation of beliefs, work, and fertility. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 1(1), 146–177.Google Scholar
  18. Field, E., Pande, R., Rigol, N., Schaner, S., & Moore, C. T. (2016). On her account: Can strengthening women’s financial control boost female labor supply?, Technical report.Google Scholar
  19. Gay, V., Hicks, D., & Santacreu-Vasut, E. (2016). Migration as a window into the coevolution between language and behavior, In S. Roberts, C. Cuskley, L. McCrohon, L. Barceló-Coblijn, O. Fehér, & T. Verhoef (Eds.), The evolution of language: Proceedings of the 11th international conference (EVOLANGX11), Online at http://evolang.org/neworleans/papers/120.html.
  20. Gay V., Santacreu-Vasut E., & Shoham A. (2013). The grammatical origins of gender roles (Working Paper Series WP2013-03). Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Economic History Economic Laboratory.Google Scholar
  21. Givati, Y., & Troiano, U. (2012). Law, economics, and culture: Theory of mandated benefits and evidence from maternity leave policies. Journal of Law and Economics, 55(2), 339–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goldin, C. (2014). A grand gender convergence: Its last chapter. The American Economic Review, 104(4), 1091–1119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grossbard, S. (2015). The marriage motive: A price theory of marriage. How marriage markets affect employment, consumption and savings. Springer-Verlag New York Inc.Google Scholar
  24. Hicks, D. L., Santacreu-Vasut, E., & Shoham, A. (2015). Does mother tongue make for women’s work? linguistics, household labor, and gender identity. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 110, 19–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Inc., E. B. (2010), 2010 Britannica book of the year, Vol. 35, Encyclopaedia britannica. pp. 766–770.Google Scholar
  26. Ladd, D. R., Roberts, S. G., & Dediu, D. (2015). Correlational studies in typological and historical linguistics. Annu. Rev. Linguist, 1(1), 221–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lundberg, S. J., Pollak, R. A., & Wales, T. J. (1997). Do husbands and wives pool their resources? Evidence from the united kingdom child benefit. The Journal of Human Resources, 32(3), 463–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lupyan G., & Dale R. (2010) Language structure is partly determined by social structure. PloS ONE, 5(1), e8559. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008559.
  29. Mavisakalyan, A. (2015). Gender in language and gender in employment. Oxford Development Studies, 43(4), 403–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mavisakalyan A., & Weber C. (2016) Linguistic Relativity and Economics. Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper 16/05, Perth: Curtin University.Google Scholar
  31. Munshi, K. (2003). Networks in the modern economy: Mexican migrants in the us labor market. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(2), 549–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Oreffice, S. (2014). Culture and household decision making. balance of power and labor supply choices of us-born and foreign-born couples. Journal of Labor Research, 35(2), 162–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oreffice, S., & Quintana-Domeque, C. (2012). Fat spouses and hours of work: Are body and pareto weights correlated? IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 1(1), 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Roberts S., Winters J., & Chen K. (2015) Future tense and economic decisions: Controlling for cultural evolution. PloS ONE, 10(7), e0132145. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0132145.
  35. Roberts S., & Winters J. (2013) Linguistic diversity and traffic accidents: lessons from statistical studies of cultural traits. PloS ONE, 8(8), e70902. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070902.
  36. Ruggles, S., Genadek, K., Goeken, R., Grover, J., & Sobek, M. (2015). Integrated public use microdata series: Version 6.0. [dataset]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. doi: 10.18128/D010.V6.0.
  37. Santacreu-Vasut, E., Shenkar, O., & Shoham, A. (2014). Linguistic gender marking and its international business ramifications. Journal of International Business Studies, 45(9), 1170–1178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Santacreu-Vasut, E., Shoham, A., & Gay, V. (2013). Do female/male distinctions in language matter? Evidence from gender political quotas. Applied Economics Letters, 20(5), 495–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Spolaore, E., & Wacziarg, R. (2009). The diffusion of development. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(2), 469–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Spolaore, E., & Wacziarg, R. (2016), Ancestry and development: New evidence. Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0820, Department of Economics, Tufts University.Google Scholar
  41. van der Velde, L., Tyrowicz, J., & Siwinska, J. (2015). Language and (the estimates of) the gender wage gap. Economics Letters, 136, 165–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Economics University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsESSEC Business School and THEMACergy-PontoiseFrance
  4. 4.Temple University and COMASPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations