Maternal Gender Role Attitudes, Human Capital Investment, and Labour Supply of Sons and Daughters

32 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2012

See all articles by David W. Johnston

David W. Johnston

Monash University

Stefanie Schurer

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics and Finance

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Using data from the 1970 British Cohort Study, we investigate the role of maternal gender role attitudes in explaining the differential educational expectations mothers have for their daughters and sons, and consequently their children's later educational outcomes and labour supply. We find that mothers' and children's gender role attitudes, measured some 25 years apart, are significantly correlated, equally so for sons and daughters. Moreover, daughters are significantly more likely to continue school beyond the minimum school-leaving age, participate in the labour force, and work more hours, if their mothers held non-traditional (pro-gender-equality) beliefs, even if they were not working themselves. Consistent with the hypothesis that maternal gender role attitudes affect daughters' economic opportunities only, we find no effect on sons' education outcomes and labour supply. However, we find that mothers' attitudes are significantly correlated with sons' partners' (daughter-in-law) labour supply. All these results suggest that the intergenerational transmission of non-traditional attitudes from mothers to their children explain a substantive part of gender inequalities in economic opportunities, and that attitudes and outcomes persevere across generations through assortative mating.

Keywords: maternal gender role attitudes, intergenerational transmission, labour supply, human capital investment, expectations, cohort data

JEL Classification: J62

Suggested Citation

Johnston, David W. and Schurer, Stefanie and Shields, Michael A., Maternal Gender Role Attitudes, Human Capital Investment, and Labour Supply of Sons and Daughters. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6656. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2089705

Stefanie Schurer

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 600
Wellington 6001
New Zealand
+64-4-4636708 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sef/staff/stefanie-schurer.aspx

Michael A. Shields

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Victoria 3010, 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 4656 (Phone)
+61 3 8344 6899 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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