Norms Formation: The Gold Rush and Women's Roles
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In this paper, we explore the expansion of gold mining in California to understand how marriage markets and gender norms are affected by the relative scarcity of women, in the short and long term. We use a geographic difference-in-difference methodology, exploiting the location of the gold deposits. We also explore to what extent these new economic and cultural gender norms persist until today.
In the first stage of our analysis in the 1880’s, we find significant differences across mining and non-mining counties in the four states. Interestingly, once controlling for the sex ratio (number of men per woman), the strength of the mining sector seems to have a negative impact on the status of women. Holding mining activity constant, in places with higher sex ratio, women have fewer children, and are able to marry younger men. The mining activity increases the age gap between spouses, and increases the number of children women have while decreasing their probability of being married.
- AguilarTolonen_Draft_Jul17.pdf (1876.0KB)