Monday 1 July, at 14.30 to 16.00   • Fondazione Marco Biagi


Marco Biagi Department, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany


This paper analyses the impact of local economic uncertainty on gender role attitudes. We construct a representative regional dataset by harmonizing data on gender role attitudes from 4 attitudinal survey series, spanning across two decades (1995 – 2018) and 29 countries in Europe and the US. We match the respondent’s place of residence with regional labour market indicators. Our results reveal a significant relationship between regional unemployment rates and gender role attitudes, which, however, differs by gender. While an increase in unemployment reinforces traditional gender roles among men, its effect on women is minimal. Our preliminary results are robust to a shift-share analysis and to alternative regional measures of perceived economic uncertainty. To investigate potential mechanisms, we conduct a heterogeneity analysis by classifying European regions based on their predominant historical family type, which has been shown to shape (conservative) gender norms. Our findings suggest that a backlash towards conservativeness among men is only present in culturally traditional regions characterized by nuclear and communitarian family structures. This lends support to our hypothesis that higher unemployment rates may strengthen traditional gender norms among men, possibly triggering an identity crisis rooted in their stronger labour market attachment (male breadwinner norm). Overall, our study sheds light on how economic downturns and economic distress in times of rising unemployment shape contemporaneous gender-role attitudes, contributing to a deeper understanding of societal dynamics in different contexts.

Recommended readings

• Fortin, N. M. (2005). Gender role attitudes and the labour-market outcomes of women across OECD countries. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 21(3), 416–438.

• Tur-Prats, A. (2019). Family types and intimate partner violence: A historical perspective. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 101(5), 878–891.

• Tur-Prats, A. (2021). Unemployment and intimate partner violence: A cultural approach. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 185, 27-49.

Il seminario si terrà in lingua inglese e la partecipazione è libera.
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Back to the Roots? Labor Market Fluctuations and Regional Differences in Gender Role Attitudes