Special Macrohistory Seminar – Anna Baiardi

Event details

  • | Thursday, January 1
  • All Day

The Persistent Effect of Gender Division of Labour: African American Women After Slavery

I investigate whether gender divison of labour during slavery has contributed to the formation of different gender roles within the African American population. Alesina, Giuliano and Nunn (2013) show that gender division of labour due to the historical use of the plow can explain differences in labour market outcomes of women across countries. In my setting, because African Americans had no choice over their location during slavery, the endogeneity issue due to selective settlements based on pre-existing gender roles is mitigated. As a proxy for gender division of labour, I use production of cotton and tobacco by county during slavery: tobacco was characterized by starker gender division of labour compared to cotton. Using census data from 1870 to 2010, I show that higher cotton prevalence relative to tobacco reduces the gender gap in terms of labour force participation and occupation income score in the African American population, for at least 70 years after emancipation. I disentangle gender roles from local labour demand effects by analysing the labour market outcomes of migrants from counties with high cotton and tobacco production during slavery, who relocate to urban areas.

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