Journal Article
Social norms and female labor participation in Brazil

Over the last half‐century, the role of women in society has changed substantially. However, the gender income gap and the difference in labor force participation persist.

Other authors introduced the concept of identity from sociology and social psychology at the economic analysis and, based on this, we search less traditional factors for understanding this persistence. Extending analysis of others, we analyze the impact of gender social norms, focusing on the prescription that “a man should earn more than his wife” on social and economic results.

Based on the Censuses for 1991, 2000, and 2010 we observed that for only 7 percent of married couples does the wife earn more than her husband. We found evidence that the wives with greater probability of earning more than their husbands are less likely to participate in the labor force. Once she does participate in the labor force, she has a higher probability of earning less than her potential income, working fewer hours, and having an informal job.

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