Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility

Publisert i

American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 1(1), 2009, pages 146-177


We study culture by examining the work and fertility behavior of second-generation American women. Culture is proxied with past female labor force participation and total fertility rates from the woman's country of ancestry. The values of these variables capture not only economic and institutional conditions but also the country's preferences and beliefs regarding women's roles. Since the women live in the United States, only the belief and preference components are potentially relevant. We show that the cultural proxies have positive significant explanatory power even after controlling for education and spousal characteristics, and we demonstrate that the results are unlikely to be explained by unobserved human capital.


By Raquel Fernandez and Alessandra Fogli
Published June 23, 2011 10:04 AM - Last modified June 23, 2011 10:08 AM