DP18278 Unbundled Gender Norms and Marital Institutions
Changes in cultural norms shift incentives, often in unanticipated ways, and therefore can interfere with the functioning of existing institutions designed to manage such incentives. We explore this issue in the context of gender norms and marital institutions. Our model highlights the relevance of unbundling gender norms; the effect of gender norms on the optimal strength of marital institutions depends on whether they apply to the private or public sphere. We test these, and related, predictions by exploiting a feature of Islamic marriage contracts using household data from Egypt.