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

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  • Kuhn, Andreas

    (Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training)

  • Wolter, Stefan C.

    (University of Bern)

Abstract

We empirically test the hypothesis that adolescents' occupational aspirations are more gender-stereotypical if they live in regions where the societal norm towards gender equality is weaker. For our analysis, we combine rich survey data describing a sample of 1,434 Swiss adolescents in 8th grade with municipal voting results dealing with gender equality and policy. We find that occupational aspirations are strongly gender-segregated and that adolescents living in municipalities with a stronger norm towards gender equality are significantly less likely to aspire for a gender-stereotypical occupation, even after controlling for individual-level controls. At the same time, gender norms have virtually no power in explaining the gender stereotypicity of individual occupational aspirations - challenging the widespread conception that societal gender norms are one of the most important determinants of occupational gender segregation. Moreover, a more detailed analysis shows that the association may mainly reflect the intergenerational transmission of occupations from parents to their children and/or regional differences in the prevailing occupational structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuhn, Andreas & Wolter, Stefan C., 2019. "The Strength of Gender Norms and Gender-Stereotypical Occupational Aspirations among Adolescents," IZA Discussion Papers 12861, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12861
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    Cited by:

    1. Kuhn, Andreas & Wolter, Stefan C., 2020. "Things versus People: Gender Differences in Vocational Interests and in Occupational Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 13380, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupational choice; occupational segregation; gender norms; preferences; intergenerational transmission; regional occupational structure;
    All these keywords.

    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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