Throughout history and in most societies, women and men have been specializing in different parts of the economy. Empirical evidence shows that women and men differ in a number of dimensions. However, gender differences are largely ignored in macroeconomic models. The starting point for my research is the hypothesis that gender roles and the interaction between men and women have an important impact on aggregate outcomes. To analyze this hypothesis, I build dynamic macro style models with explicit gender differences. The emphasis is on non-cooperative models of spousal interactions. Using game theory to model family behavior allows the analysis of topics for which cooperation in the family seems questionable (e.g. domestic violence). I will introduce these new models of spousal interaction into macroeconomic models and study a series of applied research questions. (i) Political Economy of Laws to Protect Women: Why were laws that restricted female labor force participation introduced in the beginning of the 20th century and what led to their eventual abolishment? (ii) Domestic Violence over the Business Cycle: Does domestic violence fluctuate over the business cycle? Taking domestic violence into account, what is the cost of business cycles? (iii) Fertility Distribution by Gender: To what extent do fertility outcomes differ for men and women? (iv) Footbinding in China: What was the economic role of footbinding and why has it disappeared over time? (v) Optimal Taxation with Families: How do optimal taxation results change when gender differences are explicitly taken into account? (vi) Female Empowerment as Development Policy: Is giving money to women a good development policy? (vii) Women and HIV: What policies should be implemented to reduce the spread of HIV in Africa?
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