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Social Norms and Gender-Typical Occupational Choices

Patricia Palffy, Patrick Lehnert and Uschi Backes-Gellner

No 183, Economics of Education Working Paper Series from University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Abstract: The authors analyze the relationship between social gender norms and the occupational choices of adolescents by combining information about regional votes on a constitutional amendment on gender equality with job application data from a large job board for vocational education and training apprenticeships. Results show that adolescent males in regions with stronger traditional social gender norms are significantly more likely to apply for gender-typical occupations. This finding does not hold for adolescent females, suggesting that males align their occupational choices more strongly with social gender norms than females. Additional analyses reveal that the social gender norms in a region are related to the costs that adolescents living in this region are willing to bear for commuting to a firm where they receive apprenticeship training in either a gender-typical or gender-atypical occupation. The results underscore the importance of policies that factor in social gender norms and encourage not only adolescent females, but also adolescent males to make non-traditional occupational choices.

Keywords: social norms; occupational choice; gender typicality; occupational gender segregation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I24 J16 J24 M59 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 48 pages
Date: 2021-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gen, nep-lab, nep-soc and nep-ure
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