Socially-embedded investments: Explaining gender differences in job-specific skills
AbstractGender-differences in post-schooling skill investments play a central role in stratification processes. Yet little research has been devoted to explaining how these differences come about. This paperhelps to fill this gap by proposing and testing a job-investment model with social-interaction effects that melds substantive ideas of sociology and economics. Firms use strategic compensation profiles in order to protect their job-specific skill investments and this shifts the weight of the investment decision to the supply side. Employees consider the tenure-reward profiles of different job-specific investment options and chose rationally on the basis of their expected survival probabilities in each of them. Given uncertainty, actors are likely to inform their job-survival expectations by observing their social context. Three different forms of social influence are distinguished: social-learning,social norms and role identification. It is further argued that social influences on job-survival expectations can be identified empirically by blocking individuals\' work and family preferences. Several hypotheses are derived and tested to a subsample of approximately 2,700 young single wage-earners nested in 261 different European regions and 24 different European countries. Results show that young women\'s job-investment decisions are significantly correlated with 1) the social visibility of women in highly specialized jobs in the preceding generation; 2) the proportion of men who do housework in their potential marriage markets, and 3) the existing fertility norms.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2010-12.
Date of creation: 15 Jun 2010
Date of revision:
gender; job-specific investments; social interactions; strategic compensation; social learning; social norms; role identification; prefrences; european social survey;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
- D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
- J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects
- M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Personnel Economics - - - Training
- Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2010-06-26 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2010-06-26 (Labour Economics)
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- Javier G. Polavieja & Lucinda Platt, 2010.
"Girls like pink: Explaining sex-typed occupational aspirations amongst young children,"
2010-19, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
- Javier Polavieja & Lucinda Platt, 2010. "Girls like Pink: Explaining Sex-Typed Occupational Aspirations amongst Young Children," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 844.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Javier Polavieja & Lucinda Platt, 2012. "Nurse or Mechanic? The Role of Parental Socialization and Children's Personality in the Formation of Sex-Typed Occupational Aspirations," DoQSS Working Papers 12-10, Department of Quantitative Social Science - Institute of Education, University of London.
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