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Title: When the Tables Turn: Marriage and Gender Inequality in Latin America
Authors: Urbina Julio, Daniela Rosario
Advisors: Conley, Dalton
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Education
Latin America
Quantitative Methodology
Social Demography
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In the last few decades, Latin American women had dramatically increased their educational attainment and economic position relative to men. However, these transformations unfolded amidst the prevalence of cultural norms---including gendered views of the division of labor and hypergamy ideals in marital selection---that are in tension with the reduction of these gender gaps. This dissertation examines whether, under these contextual conditions, increases in women's status reduce long-standing gender inequalities in families. To do so, I focus on two policies driving some of these transformations in the Latin American context––conditional cash transfer programs and educational expansion reforms. The first chapter examines conditional cash transfers as a case where women’s economic position is drastically improved via welfare payments. In particular, I analyze Mexico’s Progresa program, which provided cash transfers to low-income women following an experimental design. I find that these payments shifted husbands’ attitudes towards a more equitable division of labor and improved wives’ autonomy. Notably, these transfers did not generate a gender backlash response among treated families––such as pushing women further into unpaid labor––as gender-based theories posited. In the second chapter, I analyze whether increases in women’s schooling reduce gender asymmetries in marriage in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. I show that in two dimensions of union formation---marriage entry and marital selection---status differences between men and women prevail as gender gaps in education are reduced. My results demonstrate that highly educated women are less likely to get married in all countries and that marriage propensities favoring hypergamy persist across cohorts, confirming the endurance of gender asymmetrical norms. In my last chapter, I inspect whether mass education reforms increase women’s autonomy and decision-making––a classic argument among demographers and development scholars. By leveraging the timing of compulsory schooling reforms in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, I show that while education is a means of empowerment for most women, further schooling is an ineffective tool to increase female autonomy among rural and indigenous populations. I argue these results are explained by changes in the selection into schooling and the effects of women's education on marriage.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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