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Gender Norms and Labor-Supply Expectations: Experimental Evidence from Adolescents

Elisabeth Grewenig, Philipp Lergetporer and Katharina Werner

No 8611, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: Gender gaps in labor-market outcomes often emerge with the arrival of the first child. We investigate a causal link between gender norms and labor-supply expectations within a survey experiment among 2,000 German adolescents. Using a hypothetical scenario, we document that the majority of girls expects to work 20 hours or less per week when having a young child, and expects from their partner to work 30 hours or more. Randomized treatments that highlight the existing traditional norm towards mothers significantly reduce girls’ self-expected labor supply and thereby increase the expected gender difference in labor supply between their partners and themselves (the expected within-family gender gap). Treatment effects persist in a follow-up survey two weeks later, and extend to incentivized outcomes. In a second experiment, we highlight another, more gender-egalitarian, norm towards shared household responsibilities and show that this attenuates the expected within-family gender gap. Our results suggest that social norms play an important role in shaping gender gaps in labor-market outcomes around child birth.

Keywords: gender norms; female labor supply; survey experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D83 J16 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-exp, nep-gen, nep-lma and nep-soc
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