Linguistic gender marking and discrimination
A growing literature shows that culture, and particularly language, has a significant effect on our economic outcomes. We ask if a strong gender distinction in the languages corresponds to a strong gender inequality. This question can be answer using cross-sectional studies, though this approach makes it really difficult to isolate the effects of culture and institutions. Instead, we rely on migrants living in several destination countries. Migrants, we argue, carry with them their cultural baggage, but not the institutions. Hence, analyzing migrant outcomes can help to understand better the cultural determinants of gender inequality.
Our preliminary findings, based on 7 destination countries and over 95 origin countries, suggest that there is a connection between linguistic gender marking at home and wage inequality in destination countries. The effect that we find is rather large: migrants from countries where the dominant language presents some marking experience a gap larger by 16 pp. The effect is comparable to the adjusted gender gap among the native population. One could additionally consider whether there are some interaction effects, that is migrants from some countries perform exceptionally well on some destinations. Here, we did not find any significant effects. Interactions, if present, were not related to the relative gender marking.
The paper was presented in a CSWEP sponsored session. We would like to thank Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes for organizing the sessions and accepting our paper. We also thank Sandra Orozco-Aleman for her useful comments and suggestions.