Gender equality is considered important for development and good governance, yet the causes of cross-national variation in gender equality are still not well understood. This paper claims that the distinct types of rule pursued by the French versus the British imperial powers selected for postcolonial institutions that are systematically correlated with gender equality. The paper evaluates this conjecture using three tests: a cross-country test of former British and French colonies, a historical comparison of Syria and Iraq, and a regression discontinuity across the former colonial border within modern-day Cameroon (see Lee and Schultz 2012). Results indicate that, despite our understanding of British colonialism as beneficial for a variety of economic institutions (Acemoglu and Johnson 2004, La Porta et al. 2008, Lipset 1994) French institutions often better promoted gender equality. This paper contributes to the discussion on the relative importance of colonial institutions versus natural resource endowments or religion (Nunn 2013, Sokoloff and Engerman 2000, Ross 2008, Fish 2002, Inglehart and Norris 2003).
Adi Greif is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Yale University and a pre-doc at CDDRL for the academic year 2013-2014. Her dissertation, "The Long-Term Impact of Colonization on Gender", investigates why gender equality varies by former colonizer (French or British) in the Middle East and globally. It uses cross-national statistics, a regression discontinuity across the former colonial border in Cameroon, and interviews from Egypt and Jordan. Her research abroad was supported by a Macmillan Dissertation Fellowship.
Adi's research interests are colonialism, international alliances, state formation and comparative gender policies with focus on the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. She has lived in Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, and visited Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey. Adi holds an M.A. in Political Science from (Yale University) and a B.A with honors in Political Science and a minor in Math (Stanford University). Before coming to Yale, she worked at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. through the Tom Ford Fellowship in Philanthropy.