We investigate the historical determinants of the education gender gap in Italy in the late 19th century, immediately following the country's Unification. We use a comprehensive newly-assembled database including 69 provinces over 20-year sub-samples covering the 1861–1901 period. We find robust evidence that in 1861, at Unification, gender equality in education is still positively associated with the medieval pattern of commerce, along the routes that connected Italian cities among themselves and with the rest of the world. The beneficial effect of medieval commerce on female education relative to male persists after we control for a broad set of confounding factors reflecting the geographic, economic, political, and cultural differentiation of medieval Italy. The long-term influence of medieval commerce dissipates only gradually after nationally-directed educational policies are implemented after Unification. This is consistent with the hypothesis that its transmission occurs through slow-changing cultural beliefs, as confirmed by further suggestive evidence of its influence on contemporary outcomes related to gender and family culture.

Women, medieval commerce, and the education gender gap / G. Bertocchi, M. Bozzano. - In: JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE ECONOMICS. - ISSN 1095-7227. - 44:(2016), pp. 496-521. [10.1016/j.jce.2015.09.002]

Women, medieval commerce, and the education gender gap

M. Bozzano
2016

Abstract

We investigate the historical determinants of the education gender gap in Italy in the late 19th century, immediately following the country's Unification. We use a comprehensive newly-assembled database including 69 provinces over 20-year sub-samples covering the 1861–1901 period. We find robust evidence that in 1861, at Unification, gender equality in education is still positively associated with the medieval pattern of commerce, along the routes that connected Italian cities among themselves and with the rest of the world. The beneficial effect of medieval commerce on female education relative to male persists after we control for a broad set of confounding factors reflecting the geographic, economic, political, and cultural differentiation of medieval Italy. The long-term influence of medieval commerce dissipates only gradually after nationally-directed educational policies are implemented after Unification. This is consistent with the hypothesis that its transmission occurs through slow-changing cultural beliefs, as confirmed by further suggestive evidence of its influence on contemporary outcomes related to gender and family culture.
Culture; Education gender gap; Institutions; Italian Unification; Medieval commerce
Settore SECS-P/01 - Economia Politica
Settore SECS-P/12 - Storia Economica
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/934010
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