Social Indicators Research

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 133–158 | Cite as

Do Gender Differences in Social Institutions Matter in Shaping Gender Equality in Education and the Labour Market? Empirical Evidences from Developing Countries

  • Lara Fontanella
  • Annalina SarraEmail author
  • Simone Di Zio


Over the last decade, a great deal of attention has been paid worldwide to gender discrimination in social institutions. In this paper, we look at the role of formal and informal laws, values and attitudes related to traditions and cultural practices, in shaping gender inequalities in education and labour market outcomes. For our empirical investigation, we exploit macro-data for 110 developing countries, and gender discrimination in social institutions is operationalised considering indicators proposed in the Social Institutions and Gender Index. The statistical analysis is carried out through a Structural Equation Model embedded in a Bayesian framework. The proposed approach not only enables to meld together the measurement models for the latent dimensions related to social institutions and gendered development outcomes, but has the further advantages of accommodating the inherent categorical nature of the selected indicators and accounting for the spatial correlation of the analysed social phenomena, for which local proximity usually translates into value similarity. The empirical findings offer an interesting picture of the varying levels of gender-based inequalities and discrimination across the analysed countries and confirm the impact of discriminatory social institutions on gendered development outcomes: a higher level of formal and informal normative discrimination reduces the female participation in education and in the labour market.


Gender inequality Social institutions SEM Developing countries 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lara Fontanella
    • 1
  • Annalina Sarra
    • 2
    Email author
  • Simone Di Zio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Legal and Social SciencesUniversity “G.d’Annunzio” of Chieti-PescaraChietiItaly
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity “G.d’Annunzio” of Chieti-PescaraChietiItaly

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