Women’s liberation as a financial innovation

In one of the greatest extensions of property rights in human history, common law countries began giving rights to married women in the 1850s. Before this “women’s liberation,” the doctrine of coverture strongly incentivized parents of daughters to hold real estate, rather than financial assets such as money, stocks, or bonds. We exploit the staggered nature of coverture’s demise across US states to show that women’s rights led to shifts in household portfolios; a positive shock to the supply of credit; and a reallocation of labor towards non-agriculture and capital intensive industries. Investor protection deepened financial markets aiding industrialization.

That is from a recent paper by Moshe Hazan, David Weiss, and Hosny Zoabi, via Jennifer Doleac, who again has a new podcast series on law and economics.


So do countries with greater gender equality have a greater economy then?

Maybe. The womens work but do not have babies, so we import ignorant baby makers from the third world and pay for the education of their brood - so it's a toss up.

You get a bidding war for women between the economy and the family.

As the economy outbids the family for women, you get fewer of those characteristics that the economy demands in each successive generation. So if the economy demands intelligent women and outbids families for them, those women have fewer children and you get fewer of them in the next generation.

"So if the economy demands intelligent women and outbids families for them, those women have fewer children and you get fewer of them in the next generation."

We get the children of the ignorant - people dumb enough to have 8 kids even when they are poor. The opposite of the Flyyn Effect.

Those eight kids grow up on someone else's dime. Looks like having them is the smart move, and will continue to be as long as the rest of us are dumb enough to keep paying.

The contradictions of capitalism vs. biological reproduction will ineluctably lead to a crisis and socialism--lead by the likes of BS and AOC--will soon triumph!

Not true. Chelsea and Ivanka both have children. The upper class and the lower classes will reproduce. The middle classes that have to depend on the system for work and employment will be squeezed. They only have themselves to blame for not voting in policies that benefit their interests because they would rather be seen as temporarily embarrassed millionaires than be called socialists.

Just wanted to note the inappropriate use of semi-colons.

How else can you demarcate different things? If you use commas, there's confusion.

led to shifts in household portfolios, a positive shock to the supply of credit, and a reallocation of labor towards non-agriculture and capital intensive industries

Not confusing in the slightest.

Under coverture, personal property devised to a daughter became the property of her husband, whereas real property devised to a daughter did not (although she was limited as to what she could do with it). Hence, the preference for real property for parents of daughters. I'm not so sure the elimination of coverture caused the significant shift in family portfolios from real property to personal property (stocks, bonds, etc.). More likely the cause was the coincidence with industrialization and the "investor protection" referenced in the blog post (which I assume is the corporation and the limited liability for its shareholders). I spend much of my time advising clients on "asset protection planning". In other words, insulating the family portfolio from claims of creditors (and claims of poor-chosen spouses). My state has all kinds of techniques to protect assets from claims of creditors, no doubt contributing to Rick Scott's and other deadbeats' decisions to move to Florida with threats of multi-million dollar claims against them. Do my state's asset protection techniques help in the allocation of assets to the most productive uses? Am I promoting economic growth by assisting clients in protecting their assets from claims of creditors? Who knew?

Yes you are rayward. I've heard that patent attorneys and agents also contribute to intensive GDP (total factor productivity) that is, making the pie bigger, as opposed to extensive GDP (allocating the pie more fairly, such as a middleman would do by promoting liquidity or making a market).

Bonus trivia: it is said that Germany was kept backwards for over 1000 years because it lacked sophisticated forms of primogeniture to give more land to one son, so the land was subdivided too much, and there were so many castles and estates, the country was from 800 AD until about the time of Bismarck a series of small countries loosely bound by ties as part of the Holy Roman Empire. Not sure how accurate this is, see below.

Primogeniture (Wikipedia): Since the Middle Ages, the semi-Salic principle was prevalent for the inheritance of feudal land in the Holy Roman Empire: inheritance was allowed through females when the male line expired. Females themselves did not inherit, but their male issue could. For example, a grandfather without sons was succeeded by his grandson, the son of his daughter, although the daughter still lived. Likewise, an uncle without sons of his own was succeeded by his nephew, a son of his sister, even if the sister still lived. Common in feudal Europe outside of Germany was land inheritance based on a form of primogeniture: A lord was succeeded by his eldest son but, failing sons, either by daughters or sons of daughters. In most medieval Western European feudal fiefs, females (such as daughters and sisters) were allowed to succeed, brothers failing. But usually the husband of the heiress became the real lord, assuming his wife's title with the suffix jure uxoris.

Primogeniture: the right of the first born to inherit the parent's entire estate. It was prevalent in early American law. Thomas Jefferson opposed primogeniture because it promoted the concentration of wealth in a few. In the ancient world, the "household" was the economic unit. Married women remained in the household of their fathers. Why? Because of the fear that two wealthy families would inter-marry, and concentrate the wealth and power of the two families in one. Wisdom never ceases.

Take the clash after the sex pistols. they chose the flight of sound instead of the rise of jet planes. while the sex pistols remained agnostic, the clash had an argument in every song, most notably "Spanish bombs," the result of which, perhaps seen most earnestly in the Al Muthanna Task Group (Australian group sent to defend the Japenese reconstruction program in Iraq, and assist training the local army). What we see is that Reagan diversified the prism and determined the butterfly. If you look at Grenada, what the countries had in common was [they were], what Niehbar would call, "Arab."

"Primogeniture: the right of the first born to inherit the parent's entire estate. It was prevalent in early American law." I wonder why. Contrary to much pseudo-history it was not part of English law.

we are more greek than latin. journey to the "centre of the world." we have our own Egyptians.

I mean nothing against women or women's liberation by this, because it could have been any topic, but in reading this, I had this overwhelming sense that we have reached peak economic rasearch.

Funny, I felt this was a remarkably innovative insight. Of course, both could be true.

And it may well be, the realization was independent of the topic.

I guess I had an Internet Rule 34 moment. If it exists; there's research of it.

Well, it's a slow news day. After the (another) left meltdown in Australia, the news machine needs a nap in a safe space.

Well, indeed, the last person who remembers Hitler has died, so, we're due.

I guess there are Hitlers everywhere, under the bed even.

Nah, there was just one. But that was enough.

Yep. The party that took away our guns and opposes market mechanisms remained in power. Damn this right wing victory!

Understanding “one of the greatest extensions of property rights in human history“ suggests a trivial insight?

But didn't the Quran grant many of these property rights to women over 1000 years earlier?

Women inherit but get less than men. I'd would say they get about half, but the rules are actually pretty complex. So complex they may have spurred mathematic development in the Middle-East.

...too much of an inference to say that limiting women's control over their bodies is going to constrain financial innovation....? ?

The freedom to die childless with cats.

If anything is the opposite - if married women could own personal property, this is an incentive to marry, or, more exactly, the removal of an incentive to not marry (in contrast to traditional societies, where middle/upper-class women usually ended childless with cats and dogs , because they have to be much more careful with the man they choose to marry - if this man will in practice "own" the assets that she receivied from her parents... - and her family have significant veto power over marriage)

Splitting assets between the Husband and Wife makes it easier to separate, but if you're planning on staying together, it just doubles the paperwork.

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