Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Culture and the formation of gender-specific skills in an agrarian society
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
URL http://froelich.vwl.uni-mannheim.de/fileadmin/user_upload/froelich/members/Kemper/culture_gender_ski​lls.pdf
This study examines whether cultural norms arising from traditional agricultural practices
aect the formation of gender-specic skills. We hypothesize that a culturally induced
division of labor along gender lines generates gender-specic skills. As opposed to
the traditional measurement of skills, which measures skill levels based on the type of
tasks or abilities observed in certain occupations, we measure skills directly using a controlled
eld experiment in rural Ethiopia. Comparing women with exposure to the `plow
culture' with women without exposure to such cultural norms, and with men in general,
we nd a clear division of labor along gender lines between domestic and non-domestic
work. We show that women exposed to the `plow culture' are particularly skilled in exercising
a light manual task resembling everyday work in the domestic sphere. Drawing
on secondary data on the time-use of Ethiopian adults, we nd supporting evidence that
women with exposure to the `plow culture' specialize in tasks from the domestic sphere.
Thus, culturally-induced skill dierences arguably are a neglected explanation for gender
disparities in labor income.

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