Historical gender discrimination does not explain comparative Western European development: Evidence from Portugal, 1300-1900

Nuno Palma, Jaime Reis, Lisbeth Rodrigues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Gender discrimination has been pointed out as a determining factor behind the long-run divergence in incomes of Southern vis-à-vis Northwestern Europe. In this paper, we show that women in Portugal were not historically more discriminated against than those in other parts of Western Europe, including England and the Netherlands. We rely on a new dataset of thousands of observations from archival sources covering 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 on labor market participation. Consequently, other factors must have been responsible for the Little Divergence of Western European incomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101481
JournalExplorations in Economic History
Volume88
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Comparative development
  • Culture
  • European Marriage Pattern
  • Gender wage gap
  • Historical gender discrimination
  • Social norms
  • The Little Divergence

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