Economic History of Developing Regions - latest Issue
Volume 31, Issue 1, 2016
Source: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 1 –9 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1132625More Less
The family is a universal, perhaps the oldest, institution, present in all societies we know of - from hunter gatherers to the twenty-first-century Internet age - and has shown a great deal of flexibility and resilience over the centuries (Hill 2012). It is the first institution that 'takes care' of us. Families' essential function historically has been to contribute to the basic economic survival of family members (Hill 2012, 1). It is also the main vehicle of socialization of children and key in the transmission of values from one generation to the next (Bisin & Verdier 2000). Key decisions regarding economic and demographic behaviour (i.e., number of children, their education) are made within the arena of the household. Moreover the organization of family units is, to a large extent, mirrored by social and economic inequalities in other domains of society. For instance the state is often considered to reflect family relationships: French absolutist Kings and Chinese emperors saw themselves as 'fathers' to their subjects. Family has received particular attention from sociologists studying inequality and intergenerational mobility, as an important mechanism in the reproduction of poverty and inequality (see McLanahan & Percheski 2008 for a review).
Source: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 10 –46 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1114415More Less
This paper investigates the possibilities for the creation of a global dataset on family and household characteristics. This is done by scrutinizing and comparing two prominent data sources on family system classifications. We first focus on historical data, by comparing Emmanuel Todd's classification of countries by family systems with ethnographic data compiled in George Murdock's Ethnographic Atlas. Qualitative and quantitative tests show that the two datasets frequently agree about family traits. Nonetheless, substantial differences exist that are mostly attributable to the focus of the datasets on different regions, and the difficulties in translating local, descriptive studies to hard data. We therefore emphasize that it is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of the two datasets and emphasize that robustness checks are necessary in empirical research into family characteristics. We also compare these historical data with present-day data. This comparison suggests that family characteristics and the values associated with them can persist over long periods.
Mind the gap! The influence of family systems on the gender education gap in developing countries, 1950-2005Author Lotte Van der VleutenSource: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 47 –81 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1114414More Less
This paper argues that, by shaping everyday attitudes towards women and perceptions of their value and decisions about them, family systems explain part of the difficulty in bridging the gap between men's and women's achievement in education. The gap is more pronounced outside the highly industrialized nations, where affordable mass education is not the standard, and gender differences in educational attainment are markedly affected by persisting cultural norms. I test this hypothesis by examining family systems that have had a lasting effect on gender norms. I find evidence that family systems explain gender differences in average years of education in 86 developing and middle-income countries around the globe, for the period 1950 to 2005.
Author Selin DilliSource: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 82 –135 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1109440More Less
The current study investigates the role of 'family systems' as a historical institution in explaining why some countries have enduring democracy while others remained authoritarian despite the repeated global waves of democratization. To do so, empirical data including information on 127 countries between 1849 and 2009 has been gathered. The results of cross sectional and panel data analyses show that countries characterized by a nuclear household structure in the past also have higher levels of democracy in the long run (at the national level). Thus, the current study provides evidence for Todd's hypothesis on the origins of political systems. Moreover, family systems that determine the position of women are also found to be relevant for democratic development. The persistent effect of family systems on democracy can be attributed to their link with norms and values that are conducive to democracy, gender equality and local democracy practices. Overall, these findings emphasize family organization as an important historical factor in understanding the long-term global patterns of democratic development.
The interplay of family systems, social networks and fertility in Europe cohorts born between 1920 and 1960Source: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 136 –166 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1109441More Less
Despite important variations in regional family systems, little research has been done to assess the effects of these differences on fertility and thus on families' economic status. Even less attention has been paid to the effects of deviating from these regionally embedded norms in terms of network compositions. People's social networks may not conform to the region's view of the ideal family, while this could have important implications for their fertility behaviour. To fill this knowledge gap, this paper aims to answer two questions: to what extent do family systems shape family size, and to what extent do deviations from regional family system norms in terms of social network composition result in differences in completed fertility? To answer these questions, we use the first two waves of the 'Survey of Health, Aging and retirement' and derive indicators describing regional family systems and people's social networks. We test the influence of these covariates on the completed fertility of cohorts born between 1920 and 1960 in 13 European countries. Our results show that family system norms, and deviations from them in terms of specific social networks, play an important role in determining family size.
Author Anne BoothSource: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 167 –197 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1132624More Less
In the literature on women and development, there has been a tendency to view the countries of Southeast Asia as less patriarchal than other parts of Asia. It has also been argued that patterns of female literacy and female employment in the Moslem-majority countries in Southeast Asia are different from those in Moslem-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This paper reviews both the historical and contemporary evidence on the role of women in Southeast Asia paying particular attention to four indicators. The first is the extent to which women have been able to obtain employment outside the home. The second is their ability to gain access to at least sufficient education to give them literacy and numeracy. The third concerns their control over when and who they marry, and their fertility within marriage. The fourth concerns the extent to which Southeast Asian societies have been characterized by strong son-preference. The paper discusses whether Southeast Asia is different and the possible reasons for these differences.
Family, gender, and women's nutritional status : a comparison between two Himalayan communities in NepalSource: Economic History of Developing Regions 31, pp 198 –223 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2015.1114416More Less
During the last decades, the focus of food and nutrition security research has shifted from issues of macro-level availability to problems of unequal access, and distribution within the household. Little systematic attention has however been paid to the role of family systems in household food allocation processes. This study focuses on the extent to which family relations, and particularly gender roles, in two Himalayan communities with different family systems influence intra-household food allocation, and the subsequent nutritional status of women of reproductive age (15-49). In-depth interviews were conducted with 15 Buddhist and 15 Hindu women, the latter belonging either to the higher Chhetri or lower Dalit castes. Additionally, anthropometric data of women were collected. Results show that women from Hindu families were worse off than women from Buddhist households in terms of nutritional status, which is due to different intra-household allocation patterns. Secondly, women's nutritional status varied over the reproductive life course. Women were most vulnerable during menses, pregnancy, and the post-partum period. Comparison with research conducted in the 1980s in this area suggests that the influence of family-level values and practices on women's nutritional status is slowly changing.