DP13348 Female autonomy generates superstars in long-term development: Evidence from 16th to 19th century Europe

Author(s): Jörg Baten, Alexandra de Pleijt
Publication Date: December 2018
Date Revised: May 2021
Keyword(s): Early modern growth, Female autonomy, human capital formation
JEL(s): N13, N33, O40
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13348

Many countries did not accumulate sufficient human capital to be successful, because they did not make use of the potential of the female half of their population. Other countries did the opposite and became "superstars" and pioneers in long-term human capital development. This view is supported by studying female autonomy and numeracy indicators of 27 countries and 153 regions in Europe between 1500 and 1900. We are using the demographic indicator age at marriage as a proxy indicator for female autonomy. We approach endogeneity issues by exploiting exogenous variation in gender-biased agricultural specialization.