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Human Capital in HistoryThe American Record$
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Leah Platt Boustan, Carola Frydman, and Robert A. Margo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226163895

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226163925.001.0001

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The Supply of Gender Stereotypes and Discriminatory Beliefs

The Supply of Gender Stereotypes and Discriminatory Beliefs

Chapter:
(p.354) (p.355) 10 The Supply of Gender Stereotypes and Discriminatory Beliefs
Source:
Human Capital in History
Author(s):

Leah Platt Boustan

Carola Frydman

Robert A. Margo

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226163925.003.0011

What determines beliefs about the ability and appropriate role of women? An overwhelming majority of men and women born early in the twentieth century thought women should not work; a majority now believes that work is appropriate for both genders. To explain this change, we present a model where parents perpetuate beliefs out of a desire to encourage the production of grandchildren. Undersupply of female education will encourage daughters’ fertility, directly by reducing the opportunity cost of their time and indirectly by leading daughters to believe that they are less capable. Children will be particularly susceptible to persuasion if they overestimate their parents’ altruism towards themselves. The supply of persuasion will diminish if women work before child-bearing, which may explain why gender-related beliefs changed radically among generations born in the 1940s.

Keywords:   gender stereotypes, discriminatory beliefs, female education, fertility, persuasion, credulous Bayesians, investment in grandchildren

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