Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Arable Land in Antiquity Explains Modern Gender Inequality

Jha, Chandan Kumar and Sarangi, Sudipta (2020): Arable Land in Antiquity Explains Modern Gender Inequality.

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Abstract

This paper argues that the availability of arable land in antiquity created gender norms that continue to affect current gender inequality. We show that countries with greater ancestral arable land have lower levels of gender inequality, better female reproductive health outcomes, and greater female labor force participation. Using more than 80,000 individual-level observations from over 70 countries, we find that it is positively associated with attitudes regarding women’s rights and abilities. We show that the primary mechanism driving this relationship is the shaping of norms that promote female labor force participation.

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