DP14493 Men. Roots and Consequences of Masculinity Norms

Author(s): Victoria Baranov, Ralph de Haas, Pauline Grosjean
Publication Date: March 2020
Keyword(s): Cultural persistence, identity, Masculinity, Natural Experiment, Sex ratio
JEL(s): I31, J12, J16, N37, Z13
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Development Economics, Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14493

Recent research has uncovered the historical roots of gender norms about women and the persistent impact of such norms on economic behavior. We document similar roots and consequences 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 areas that were heavily male-biased in the past (though not the present) remain characterized by more violence, higher rates of male suicide and other forms of preventable male mortality, and more male-stereotypical occupational segregation. Further evidence indicates that in these historically male-biased areas, more Australians recently voted against same-sex marriage and that boys-but not girls-are more likely to be bullied in school. We interpret these results as manifestations of masculinity norms that emerged due to intense local male-male competition and that persisted over time through peer socialization in schools.