Author(s): Pamela Campa, Michel Serafinelli
This paper investigates the extent to which attitudes are affected by political regimes and government policies. We focus on female attitudes toward work and gender-role attitudes in the population at large, which have been shown to have significant effects on labor market outcomes. We exploit the imposition of state-socialist regimes across Central and Eastern Europe, and their efforts to promote women’s economic inclusion, for both instrumental and ideological reasons, presenting evidence from two different datasets. First, we take advantage of the German partition into East and West after 1945 and unique access to restricted information on place of residence to implement a spatial regression discontinuity design. We find more positive attitudes toward work in the sample of East German women. We also find evidence that increased female access to higher education and fulltime employment, arguably two of the very few positive aspects of living under state-socialism, may have served as channels for regime influence. Second, we employ a difference-in-differences strategy that compares attitudes formed in Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) and Western European Countries (WECs), before and after the imposition of state socialism in CEECs. Gender-role attitudes formed in CEECs during the state socialist period appear to be significantly less traditional than those formed in WECs.
Keywords: gender-role attitudes,state-socialism,Central and Eastern Europe