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24 October 2019

The School of Economics and Finance invites you to attend a seminar where Dr David Smerdon from the School of Economics at the University of Queensland will present on "A stepping-stone approach to understanding harmful norms: Theory and evidence from Somalia".


Social norms that constrain women’s choices persist in many countries, often despite legislation and even private preferences against them. In this paper, we investigate a particularly resilient harmful norm: Female genital cutting (FGC). We present a simple theoretical framework of social interactions that explains the persistence of FGC under certain conditions, as well as other features such as the rise and fall of particular types of cutting. One result from the model is that an intermediate trait can under some circumstances act as a stepping-stone in assisting a society to transition from an undesirable state to a desirable one. On the other hand, under different conditions an intermediate trait might slow down or even prevent such a transition, becoming the dominant norm. We provide empirical evidence on how these insights and our framework are reflected in baseline survey data collected from 2,500 households in Somalia, the country with the worst rate of FGC (>98%). The results of the baseline data motivated a belief-based intervention for a large RCT that began in late 2018. 

Everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information please see Dr David Smerdon's website.


24 October 2019 - 24 October 2019
11:00am - 12:30pm
Gardens Point Campus, Z Block, Level 8
GP - Z808
Free to attend
QUT School of Economics and Finance
Dr Jay Sarkar
07 3138 4252
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