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Closing or reproducing the gender gap? Parental transmission, social norms and education choice

Maria Humlum, Anne Brink Nandrup () and Nina Smith ()
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Anne Brink Nandrup: Aarhus University

Journal of Population Economics, 2019, vol. 32, issue 2, No 4, 455-500

Abstract: Abstract Over the last decade, the economic literature has increasingly focused on the importance of gender identity and sticky gender norms in an attempt to explain the persistence of the gender gaps in education and labour market behaviour. Using detailed register data on the latest cohorts of Danish labour market entrants, this paper examines the intergenerational correlation in gender-stereotypical choice of education. Although to some extent picking up inherited and acquired skills, our results suggest that if parents exhibit gender-stereotypical labour market behaviour, children of the same sex are more likely to choose a gender-stereotypical education. The associations are strongest for sons. Exploiting the detailed nature of our data, we use birth order and sibling sex composition to shed light on the potential channels through which gender differences in educational preferences are transmitted across generations. Our findings support the hypothesis that human capital transfers and intra-family resource allocation are important mechanisms. We find no evidence suggesting that school and/or residential location are important drivers of the documented intergenerational correlations.

Keywords: Intergenerational transmission; Gender differences; Gender identity; Social norms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 J16 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-018-0692-1

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