Historical Gender Discrimination Does Not Explain Comparative Western European Development: Evidence from Portugal, 1300-1900

64 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021 Last revised: 29 Mar 2022

See all articles by Nuno Pedro G. Palma

Nuno Pedro G. Palma

University of Manchester

Jaime Reis

University of Lisbon - Institute of Social Science

Lisbeth Rodrigues

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 2021

Abstract

Gender discrimination has been pointed out as a determining factor behind the long-run divergence in incomes of Southern vis-a-vis Northwestern Europe. In this paper, we show that there is no evidence that women in Portugal were historically more discriminated against than those of other parts of Western Europe, including England and the Netherlands. We rely on a new dataset of thousands of observations from archival sources which cover six centuries, and we complement it with a qualitative discussion of comparative social norms. Compared with Northwestern Europe, women in Portugal faced similar gender wage gaps, married at similar ages, and did not face more restrictions to labor market participation. Consequently, other factors must be responsible for the Little Divergence of Western European incomes.

Keywords: Comparative development, Culture, European Marriage Pattern, gender wage gap, Historical gender discrimination, Social norms, the Little Divergence

JEL Classification: J16, N13, N33

Suggested Citation

Palma, Nuno Pedro G. and Reis, Jaime and Rodrigues, Lisbeth, Historical Gender Discrimination Does Not Explain Comparative Western European Development: Evidence from Portugal, 1300-1900 (March 2021). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15922, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3805345

Nuno Pedro G. Palma (Contact Author)

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Jaime Reis

University of Lisbon - Institute of Social Science ( email )

Av. Professor Anibal Betencourt, 9
Lisboa, 1649-004
Portugal

Lisbeth Rodrigues

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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