Essays in family and development economics
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This dissertation contains three chapters in the field of family and development economics. The first two chapters study the effects of traditional gender roles on economic outcomes. The last chapter discusses the effects of a spatial development policy in India. Chapter 1 examines the dynamics of intra-household time allocation in response to economic incentives, and the role of traditional gender norms. Using unique longitudinal data on Japanese households, it finds that spouses in dual-income households adjust their market hours but not home hours as own wages change. In addition, per earthquake-induced changes in market hours, wives make little or no change in home hours while husbands show significant, yet small in magnitude, responses. The responses are driven by individuals with less traditional gender role attitudes. Traditional gender roles exacerbate not only the asymmetry but also the rigidity of gendered division of intrafamily labor. Chapter 2 studies whether the effects of traditional gender roles on female labor supply are greater in endogamous marriage by examining the labor supply pattern of immigrant women in the United States. The endogenous formation of marriage is addressed by incorporating local marriage market conditions. Using survey responses on gender roles in source countries as cultural proxies, it finds that the negative effects of traditional gender roles on female labor supply are amplified in endogamous marriage at the extensive and intensive margins of labor market. Differential patterns of immigrant assimilation by marriage type fail to fully explain the asymmetry, supporting the hypothesis that culture is more relevant within endogamous marriage. Chapter 3 (with Shree Ravi) analyzes the aggregate and distributional effects of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in India. It investigates the influence of Indian SEZs by exploiting spatial variations in the timing of zonal operations. Using satellite and survey data, it establishes that SEZs boosted economic activity within areas several times the size of the zones. The zones also drove a structural change in the local economy with resources shifting away from the informal sector and the formal sector growing in size and productivity. This growth, however, differently benefits workers across income and skill distributions.