Higher Education Expansion and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from China

47 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2019 Last revised: 11 May 2021

See all articles by Wei Si

Wei Si

School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University

Date Written: December 6, 2019

Abstract

Empowering women and closing the gender gap are key issues for economic and social development. This paper explores whether higher education expansion could empower women by influencing gender norms and the level of gender equality in both the labor market and the marriage market. I evaluate the impact of China's higher education expansion since 1999. The results show that the reform significantly increases higher educational attainment for both women and men. However, women's gender-role attitudes tend to become less progressive after the expansion. The retreat in egalitarian gender views could be attributed to the findings that women's opportunities in the labor market become more disadvantaged relative to those of men. The results are significantly driven by married women and people who live in high sex ratio areas. The practical conditions that women confront in the labor market and households may shape their gender-role attitudes in the reverse direction.

Keywords: Higher education expansion, Gender norms, Gender inequality, Labor market, Marriage market

JEL Classification: I23, I24, J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Si, Wei, Higher Education Expansion and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from China (December 6, 2019). ShanghaiTech SEM Working Paper No. 2019-006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3499450 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3499450

Wei Si (Contact Author)

School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University ( email )

393 Middle Huaxia Road, Pudong
Shanghai, 201210
China

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