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The Effects of Sexism on American Women: The Role of Norms vs. Discrimination (WP-18-19)

Kerwin Kofi Charles, Jonathan Guryan, and Jessica Pan

The researchers study how reported sexism in the population affects American women. Fixed-effects and TSLS estimates show that higher prevailing sexism where she was born (background sexism) and where she currently lives (residential sexism) both lower a woman's wages, labor force participation, and ages of marriage and childbearing. The researchers argue that background sexism affects outcomes through the influence of previously-encountered norms, and that estimated associations regarding specific percentiles and male versus female sexism suggest that residential sexism affects labor market outcomes through prejudice-based discrimination by men, and non-labor market outcomes through the influence of current norms of other women.

Kerwin Kofi Charles, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

Jonathan Guryan, Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

Jessica Pan, Associate Professor of Economics, National University of Singapore

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