Wind of Change? Cultural Determinants of Maternal Labor Supply


RFBerlin – CReAM Discussion Paper No. 09/24

April 2024

Barbara Boelmann, Anna Raute, Uta Schönberg


We investigate the role of cultural norms in shaping women’s labor supply decisions after childbirth. Specifically, we are interested in the interplay between childhood socialization and adulthood environment. To that end, we leverage the setting of the German reunification when East Germany’s gender egalitarian culture induced by socialism and West Germany’s more traditional culture were brought together. We find that East German gender norms are persistent whereas West German ones are not. West German mothers adjust their behavior to that of their East German peers not only when immersed in East German environment but even after returning to the West.

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Conditionally accepted for publication at American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.