Girls like pink: Explaining sex-typed occupational aspirations amongst young children
AbstractThere is a high degree of sex-typing in young children's occupational aspirations and this has consequences for subsequent occupational segregation. Sociologists typically attribute early sex-differences in occupational preferences to gender socialization. Yet we still know surprisingly little about the mechanisms involved in the intergenerational transmission of sex-typical preferences and there is considerable theoretical controversy regarding the role of individual agency in the process of preference formation. This study analyzes the determinants of sex-typed occupational aspirations amongst British children aged between 11 and 15. We specify different mechanisms involved in the transmission of sex-typical preferences and propose an innovative definition of individual agency that is anchored in observable psychological traits linked to self-direction. This allows us to perform a simultaneous test of socialization and agency predictors of occupational sex-typing. We find that parental influences on occupational preferences operate mainly through three distinctive channels: 1) the effect that parental socio-economic resources have on the scope of children‘s occupational aspirations, 2) children's direct imitation of parental occupations, and 3) children's learning of sex-typed roles via the observation of parental behavior. We also find a strong net effect of children's own psychological predispositions —self-esteem in particular— on the incidence of sex-typical occupational preferences. Yet large differences in the occupational aspirations of girls and boys remain unexplained.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2010-19.
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Gender segregation; occupational aspirations; children; socialization; agency; personality traits; mechanisms; british household panel survey;
Other versions of this item:
- 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).
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:ese:iserwp:2009-22 is not listed on IDEAS
- Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003.
"Human Capital Policy,"
IZA Discussion Papers
821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Corcoran, Mary E & Courant, Paul N, 1985. "Sex Role Socialization and Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 275-78, May.
- Goldin, Claudia & Polachek, Solomon, 1987. "Residual Differences by Sex: Perspectives on the Gender Gap in Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 143-51, May.
- Yona Rubinstein & James J. Heckman, 2001. "The Importance of Noncognitive Skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 145-149, May.
- James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006.
"The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
- James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," NBER Working Papers 12006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Javier G. Polavieja, 2010. "Socially-embedded investments: Explaining gender differences in job-specific skills," Working Papers 2010-12, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
- Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
- Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
- repec:ese:iserwp:2013-15 is not listed on IDEAS
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (IMDEA RePEc Maintainer).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.