Working Paper
Eradicating women-hurting customs

What role for social engineering?

Social engineering refers to deliberate attempts, often under the form of legislative moves, to promote changes in customs and norms that hurt the interests of marginalized population groups. This paper explores the analytical conditions under which social engineering is more or less likely to succeed than more indirect approaches when it comes to suppress gender-biased customs.

This implies discussing the main possible interaction frameworks leading to anti-women equilibria, and deriving policy implications from the corresponding games. The theoretical arguments are illustrated by examples drawn from available empirical works, thus providing a reasoned survey of the literature.