Congratulations to economics professor Ana Tur-Prats and her co-author Eleonora Guarnieri on the forthcoming Quarterly Journal of Economics publication of their article "Cultural Distance and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence",
This paper examines the relationship between ethnic-based gender norms and conflict-related sexual violence. We generate a novel dyadic dataset that contains information on the ethnic identity of all the actors involved in ethnic civil conflicts around the world between 1989 and 2019 and their use of sexual violence. We exploit ethnographic information to construct a new male dominance index at the ethnicity level that captures deep-rooted gender norms. First, we find that male-dominant armed actors are more likely to be perpetrators of sexual violence. Second, we consider the cultural distance in gender norms between the combatants, and show that sexual violence is driven by a specific clash of conceptions on the appropriate role of men and women in society: sexual violence increases when the perpetrator is more male dominant than the victim. Additional analyses suggest that gender norms influence both the strategic use of sexual violence for military purposes and the expressive use of sexual violence for private motivations. These patterns are specific to sexual violence and do not explain general violence within a conflict. Differences in other cultural dimensions unrelated to gender are not associated with conflict-related sexual violence.
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