This paper studies the formation and persistence of gender identity in a sample of U.S. immigrants. We show that gender roles are acquired early in life, and once established, persist regardless of how long an individual has lived in the U.S. We use a novel approach relying on linguistic variation and document that households with individuals whose native language emphasizes gender in its grammatical structure are significantly more likely to allocate household tasks on the basis of sex and to do so more intensively. We present evidence of two mechanisms for our observed associations – that languages serve as cultural markers for origin country norms or that features of language directly influence cognition and behavior.
HICKS, D., SANTACREU VASUT, E. and SHOHAM, A. (2015). Does Mother Tongue Make for Women's Work? Linguistics, Household Labor, and Gender Identity. In: Royal Economic Society Conference 2015.