Analyzing gender-based differential advantage: a gendered model of emerging and constructed opportunities.
Steele, Scott R.
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Steele, S. R. (1998). Analyzing gender-based differential advantage: a gendered model of emerging and constructed opportunities. (Economics Working Paper no. 29): Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway.
This paper develops and uses the Model of Emerging and Constructed Opportunities (MECO) to analyze the emergence of systematic institutional and gender-based differential advantage. Using an evolutionary process with reference group effects, certain household power relations that are "less fit" are abandoned in favor of household power relations that are "more fit." The model illustrates processes whereby institutional and gender-based differential advantage could emerge: (1) through stochastic processes if different genders experience asymmetric shocks affecting their economic opportunity; (2) as the result of gender-based differences in investment bias; or (3) as the result of gender-based differences in responses to servility. The evolutionary process in the MECO is one where agents within households see themselves as servile if they have less ability to influence the allocation of resources in their household than their peers. When agents deem themselves as servile they shirk and household production is diminished. As such, there are costs and benefits to having power in the household. Both agents in the household may be made better off by abandoning one household power relation in favor of another. In particular, the MECO contributes to the literature by analyzing the emergence of (1) gender-based differences in "exit options" and (2) gender-based differences in terms of ability to influence intra-household allocations.
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