Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


The Role of Historical Resource Scarcity in Modern Gender Inequality


Chandan Kumar Jha
Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY


26th July, 2016 (Tuesday) at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited

This study detects a curious correlation between historical resource scarcity and modern gender inequality: current economic circumstances held constant, there tends to be more gender inequality in regions less endowed with agro-ecological resources, considered historical given the stability of geographical conditions. The proportion of national land area that is potentially arable, and the proportion of national ancestral land suited to agriculture, are each negatively related to the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index, and positively related to both the UNDP’s Gender Development Index and females’ less males’ life expectancy at birth. Such a connection holds at the sub- national level as well. Indian districts better endowed with rainfall and cultivable land have, on average, proportionately fewer `missing women’, that is, higher population sex-ratios. Further, respondents of the World Values Survey residing in sub-national regions with ancestral lands better suited to agriculture are less likely to hold the opinions that men ought to have more right to scarce jobs and that men make better political leaders than women. We consider these ndings consistent with historical resource scarcity having played a role in the evolution of gender norms biased against women that prevail to this day.

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