Gender Norms, Integration Costs, And Missing Women In Firms

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Published In

Identity, Culture, And The Economics Of Gender


Where social norms favor gender segregation, firms may find it costly to employ both men and women. If the costs of integration are largely fixed, firms will integrate only if their expected number of female employees under integration exceeds some threshold. We deploy a methodology that uses the distribution of female employment across firms to estimate the share of firms with binding integration costs and counterfactual female employment at all-male firms. Using survey data on manufacturing firms in 65 countries, we find evidence for these binding integration costs (and a corresponding excess of all-male firms) in Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia but not in other regions. We also find some evidence that the intensity of gender segregation preferences is correlated with these integration costs in the MENA region.


ASSA 2022 Virtual Annual Meeting

Conference Dates

January 7-9, 2022