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Empowering Women Through Radio: Evidence from Occupied Japan

Department of Economics is welcoming you to online seminar with Yoko Okuyama, Assistant Professor of Economics, Uppsala University. Yoko will be presenting the topic "Empowering Women Through Radio: Evidence from Occupied Japan ". This study examines the impact of women's radio programs that the US-led occupying force aired in Japan (1945-1952) to dismantle the prewar patriarchal norms. Using local variation in radio signal strength driven by soil conditions as an instrumental variable, I provide causal evidence that greater exposure to women's radio programs increases women's electoral turnout, which further translates into a greater vote share for female candidates. This positive effect contributes to women's greater representation in the national legislature: had there not been women's radio programs in place, the number of female winners would have been halved. This is an online seminar which will take place via Zoom.

Welcome to Higher Seminar in Economics organised by the Department of Economics, SSE. The seminar speaker is Yoko Okuyama, Assistant Professor of Economics, Uppsala University. The title of her talk is "Empowering Women Through Radio: Evidence from Occupied Japan "

Yoko Okuyama, UU

Personal webpage

Yoko's current research focuses on the intersection of labor economics and political economy, particularly as relates to gender and socio-political participation.

ABSTRACT:

This study examines the impact of women's radio programs that the US-led occupying force aired in Japan (1945-1952) to dismantle the prewar patriarchal norms. Using local variation in radio signal strength driven by soil conditions as an instrumental variable, I provide causal evidence that greater exposure to women's radio programs increases women's electoral turnout, which further translates into a greater vote share for female candidates. This positive effect contributes to women's greater representation in the national legislature: had there not been women's radio programs in place, the number of female winners would have been halved. Moreover, exposure to women's radio programs contributes to a decline in fertility and therefore had an important implication for the nation's demographic transition. The declining fertility is due neither to an increase in women's career aspirations nor to a decline in marriages. My results are not driven by a preexisting correlation between radio signal strength and women's behavior before the US occupation. Although research shows that gender norms have historical roots and move slowly, my findings provide evidence that public policy can cut against them to promote equal participation in decision-making.

This is an online seminar which will take place via Zoom. The link to the seminar will be distrubted by invitation only. Please contact lyudmila.vafaeva@hhs.se if you would like to attend the seminar.

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