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Gendered Effects of Social Norms and Institutions

Paper Session

Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (PST)

Marriott Marquis, Grand Ballroom 2
Hosted By: American Economic Association & Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession
  • Chair: Janet Currie, Princeton University

Evaluating Teen Options for Preventing Pregnancy: Impacts and Mechanisms

Dara Lee Luca
,
Mathematica Policy Research
Jack Stevens
,
Ohio State University
Dana Rotz
,
Mathematica Policy Research

Abstract

We present findings from an experimental evaluation involving close to 600 women of the Teen Options to Prevent Pregnancy (TOPP) program, an 18-month intervention that aimed to reduce rapid repeat pregnancy among adolescent mothers who recently gave birth. The program was comprised of a unique combination of personalized contraceptive counseling delivered by nurse educators, facilitated access to contraceptive services, and referrals to social support services. Our main results indicate that the program was highly successful in increasing use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) (41.1 percent in the treatment group versus 25.7 percent in the control group) and reducing rates of repeat pregnancy (20.8 percent in the treatment group versus 38.2 percent in the control group). There were no significant changes in use of other types of contraceptives at the extensive margin, including short-acting hormonal or barrier methods. We did not find negative spillover effects of TOPP on other sexual risk behaviors, such as the number of sexual partners or rate of unprotected sex without a condom. An exploratory analysis suggests that TOPP may have helped fill a significant gap in knowledge and access to highly effective contraceptives. We find that participants who lacked social support and lagged in contraceptive knowledge at baseline especially benefitted from the program. Among participants who did not adopt LARCs, the program also increased short-acting hormonal contraceptive use at the extensive margin (increasing use in the past 3 months) and intensive margin (improving consistency and frequency of use). We found limited evidence that access to the TOPP social worker was demonstrably linked to changes in pregnancy or other relevant outcomes, such as housing or benefit receipt. Our results demonstrate that contraceptive counseling and reducing barriers to highly effective contraceptive methods, such as LARCs, could help reduce rates of unintended and rapid repeat pregnancy.

Gender Violence, Enforcement, and Human Capital: Evidence from All-Women's Justice Centers in Peru

Maria Micaela Sviatschi
,
Princeton University
Iva Trako
,
Paris School of Economics and World Bank

Abstract

In many developing countries, access to justice remains unequal, especially for women. What are the implications of this inequality for gender-based violence and investment in children? This paper provides evidence from Peru's all-women's justice centers (WJCs), specialized institutions that employ mostly female officers and provide police and legal services to reduce gender-based violence. Examining the gradual rollout of WJCs across districts and villages, we find that the opening of a center increases reporting and prosecutions for gender-specific crimes by 40%; it also reduces the incidence of gender-based violence, as measured by domestic violence, femicide, and hospitalizations due to mental health, by about 10%. We find, moreover, that this decrease in women's exposure to violence has intergenerational effects: WJCs substantially increase human capital investments in children, raising enrollment, attendance, and test scores. These results are consistent with a bargaining model in which women's access to justice determines the threat point.

Men. Roots and Consequences of Masculinity Norms

Victoria Baranov
,
University of Melbourne
Pauline Grosjean
,
University of New South Wales
Ralph De Haas
,
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Abstract

Recent research has uncovered the historical roots of gender norms about women and the persistent effect of such norms on economic development. We find similar long-term effects of masculinity norms: beliefs about the proper conduct of men. We exploit a natural historical experiment in which convict transportation in the 18th and 19th century created a variegated spatial pattern of sex ratios across Australia. We show that in areas that were heavily male-biased in the past (though not the present) more Australians recently voted against same-sex marriage, an institution at odds with traditional masculinity norms. Survey data show that this voting pattern is mostly driven by men. Further evidence indicates that these historically male-biased areas also remain characterized by more violence, excessive alcohol consumption, and occupational gender segregation. We interpret these behaviors as manifestations of masculinity norms that emerged due to intense local male-male competition and that persisted over time.

Implicit Stereotypes: Evidence from Teachers' Gender Bias

Michela Carlana
,
Harvard University

Abstract

I study whether exposure to teacher stereotypes, as measured by the Gender-Science Implicit Association Test, affects student achievement. I provide evidence that the gender gap in math performance, defined as the score of boys minus the score of girls in standardized tests, substantially increases when students are assigned to math teachers with stronger gender stereotypes. Teacher stereotypes induce girls to under-perform in math and self-select into less demanding high-schools, following the track recommendation of their teachers. These effects are at least partially driven by a lower self-confidence on own math ability of girls exposed to gender biased teachers. Stereotypes impair the test performance of girls, who end up failing to achieve their full potential. I do not detect statistically significant effects on student outcomes of literature teacher stereotypes.
Discussant(s)
Seema Jayachandran
,
Northwestern University
Anna Aizer
,
Brown University
Martha Bailey
,
University of Michigan
Jesse Rothstein
,
University of California-Berkeley
JEL Classifications
  • J7 - Labor Discrimination
  • J1 - Demographic Economics