DP13865 Diffusion of Gender Norms: Evidence from Stalin's Ethnic Deportations
We study horizontal between-group cultural transmission using a unique historical setting, which combines exogenous group exposure with no control over whether and how the representatives of different groups interact. Stalin’s ethnic deportations during WWII moved over 2 million people---the majority of whom were ethnic Germans and Chechens---from the Western parts of the USSR to Central Asia and Siberia. As a result, the native population of the deportation destinations was exposed to groups with drastically different gender norms. Combining historical archival data with contemporary surveys, we document that gender norms diffused from deportees to the local population, resulting in changes in attitudes and behavior. Norms of gender equality diffused more than norms of gender discrimination. Identification relies on the fact that, within subnational regions, the local population was fairly homogeneous, while deportation destinations were determined by local demands for manual labor, orthogonal to identity and skills of deportees.