The Impact of Gender Norms on Female-owned Enterprises

In Ethiopia, entrenched gender norms continue to prescribe the burden of domestic duties to women, even as many women run their own business. This project studies to what extent the norm that women do the bulk of housework and childcare constrains female-owned enterprises. First, by randomizing wages of weekly work offers and collecting high-frequency data on time use, we quantify the premium female entrepreneurs require to accept additional market work relative to their husbands. Second, we examine how much of this reservation wage premium could be explained gender norms. To this end, we combine experimentally elicited (un)willingness to perform gender-coded tasks with survey-based belief measures over the division of home production. Finally, we correlate our uncovered norm measure with business profits, time use, and household income. Overcoming measurement challenges is crucial for understanding the restrictions imposed by gender norms and for designing interventions to ease them.

RFP Cycle:
Spring 2021
  • Isabelle Salcher
  • Eyoual Demeke
  • Pilot project