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The Strength of Gender Norms and Gender-Stereotypical Occupational Aspirations Among Adolescents


  • Andreas Kuhn

    () (Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)

  • Stefan C. Wolter

    () (University of Bern, Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education, CESifo & IZA)


We test the hypothesis that adolescents' occupational aspirations are more gender-stereo-typical if they live in regions where the norm towards gender equality is weaker. For our empirical analysis, we combine rich survey data describing a sample of 1,434 Swiss adolescents in 8th grade with communal voting results dealing with gender equality and policy. We use the voting results to measure spatial variation in the local norm towards (more) gender equality. We find that adolescents living in localities with a stronger norm towards gender equality are significantly and substantively less likely to aspire for a gender-stereotypical occupation. This correlation may reflect different underlying mechanisms, however, and a more detailed analysis in fact reveals that the association between gender norms and occupational aspirations mainly reflects the intergenerational transmission of occupations from parents to their children.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Kuhn & Stefan C. Wolter, 2018. "The Strength of Gender Norms and Gender-Stereotypical Occupational Aspirations Among Adolescents," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0151, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0151

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    More about this item


    occupational choice; occupational segregation; gender gap; gender norms; preferences; socialization; intergenerational transmission;

    JEL classification:

    • 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


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