DP14932 Gender Roles and the Gender Expectations Gap

Author(s): Francesco D'Acunto, Ulrike M. Malmendier, Michael Weber
Publication Date: June 2020
Keyword(s): Expectations, Experiences, exposure, Gender Gap, Perceptions
JEL(s): C90, D14, D84, E31, E52, G11
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14932

Expectations about economic variables vary systematically across genders. In the domain of inflation, women have systematically higher expectations than men. We argue that traditional gender roles are a significant factor in generating this gender expectations gap as they expose women and men to different economic signals in their daily lives. Using unique data on the participation of men and women in household grocery chores, their resulting exposure to price signals, and their inflation expectations, we document a tight link between the gender expectations gap and the distribution of grocery shopping duties. Since grocery prices are highly volatile, and consumers focus disproportionally on positive price changes, frequent exposure to grocery prices increases perceptions of current inflation and expectations of future inflation. We show that the gender expectations gap is largest in households whose female heads are solely responsible for grocery shopping, whereas no gap arises in households in which grocery shopping is split equally between men and women. We discuss how gender roles, through the gender expectations gap, can lead women to suboptimal economic choices.