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Women’s Worldwide Education–employment Connection: A Multilevel Analysis of the Moderating Impact of Economic, Political, and Cultural Contexts

Carlijn Bussemakers, Kars van Oosterhout, Gerbert Kraaykamp and Niels Spierings

World Development, 2017, vol. 99, issue C, 28-41

Abstract: Education is a core driver of female employment and empowerment all over the world. As development studies have shown, the strength of this educational effect however varies considerably across countries. Theoretically, we employ mechanisms from human capital theory and modernization theory that explicate the education–employment link. Next, insights from the gender and development approach lead us to hypothesize how economic, political, and socio-cultural features of countries might moderate this effect of educational attainment. Using World Values Survey data on women surveyed in 139 country–year combinations, we empirically test whether and how a country’s labor market structure, social policy, and gender norms condition the influence of women’s education attainment on employment. Employing multilevel logistic regression models with cross-level interactions, our results indicate that in countries where service sector jobs are relatively scarce, having a higher education is more important for women to get a job; it seems that highereducated women push lowereducated women out of employment under those circumstances. Most importantly, women’s educational attainment makes more of a difference in countries with conservative gender norms; in these countries women’s employment is considerably lower than in more liberal countries, but to a lesser extent for higher educated women.

Keywords: education; employment; women; gender and development; gender norms; institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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