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10.04. BGSE Workshop: Lingwei Wu

BGSE Workshop with Lingwei Wu (University of Bonn)

Event details
What
  • BGSE Workshop
When Apr 10, 2019
from 12:00 to 13:00
Where Room 0.017
Contact Name Stephan Lauermann
Contact Email
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Topic 

The Economic Motives for Foot-binding


Abstract

How can gender asymmetry in social mobility affect gender norms? This paper investigates footbinding – a long-standing custom that reshaped girls’ feet in historical China – and examines how its dynamics responded to the shifts of a gender-asymmetric mobility institution (the Civil Examination System). The system generated a more heterogeneous composition of men compared to that of women, and triggered intensive marriage market competition among women. Embodying both aesthetic and moral values, foot-binding was used as a premarital investment, yet also bearing cost in women’s labor. Thus, its adoption exhibited regional disparity, driven by variation in both men’s mobility and women’s labor cost. Empirical evidence from county-level Republican archives is consistent with theoretical predictions.

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