WORKING PAPERS

How do traditional ethnic practices and experiences influence the rate of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) over time? Can the high and low trends of FGM be linked to pre-industrial characteristics associated with ethnic groups? Motivated by a large amount of literature that suggests that past events affect gender norms, I explore how deeply-entrenched ethnic norms determine FGM today. Using both ethnographic and contemporary survey data for over 130,000 women across 9 African countries, I find evidence that (i) there is a positive correlation between ethnic identity and FGM; (ii) FGM rates among women whose ancestors relied on pastoralism and plow agriculture has declined across birth cohorts; (iii) FGM rates are rising among women from ethnic societies with historically loose kinship structures and norms regarding premarital sexual behavior.

REVIEW OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION

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Gender inequality remains a global issue in developing countries. Recognizing why gender-biased norms emerge and persist across generations is crucial for closing gender gaps. This paper examines the norm of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to understand why it exists in some societies and not others. Using
insights from Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, and Evolutionary Psychology, I study the historical background, persistence, and the enforcements of FGM norms. The paper highlights the role of the environment, social punishments, and kinship structures in establishing FGM traditions across cultures.

 

WORK IN PROGRESS

WOMEN'S PROPERTY RIGHTS, CASTE AND EDUCATION IN INDIA

We examine the effect of a reform that improves women's inheritance rights on educational outcomes across various caste groups in India. Using the 2004-2005 wave of Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) data, we find that the Hindu Succession Act (HSA) reform led to an increase in educational attainment among women from the brahmin, high caste and low caste groups. Moreover, the inter-generational effect of the reform shows that educational outcome increased for children belonging to the brahmin caste group. However, kids from the low caste and high caste experienced a decline in educational attainment and this is mainly attributed to a fall in boys' years of schooling.

 

MEDIA