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Growth, Attitudes towards Women, and Women's Welfare


  • We are grateful to Christophre Georges, Stephen Wu, Julio Videras, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federal Reserve Board or the Federal Reserve System.

* Owen: Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323. Tel: 315-859-4419; Fax: 315-859-4477; E-mail: You: Federal Reserve Board of Governors, 20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20551. Tel: 202-452-2942; Fax: 202-728-5890; E-mail:


The authors find that attitudes towards women are more progressive as per capita income rises and that the quality and quantity of women's human capital increases with per capita income. Prior to presenting these empirical results, the authors first demonstrate the importance of these relationships with a simple model that shows how a feedback loop between attitudes towards women, investment in women's human capital, and income affects the dynamic path of the economy. Depending on the nature of the relationship between per capita income and attitudes towards women, they identify the possibility of a gender-equity poverty trap. Finally, they extend the model to show the dynamic interplay between attitudes towards women, income, and fertility.