The Strength of Gender Norms and Gender-Stereotypical Occupational Aspirations Among Adolescents

50 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020 Last revised: 10 Aug 2022

See all articles by Andreas Kuhn

Andreas Kuhn

Swiss Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Research

Stefan C. Wolter

Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SKBF); University of Bern - Department of Economics

Abstract

We empirically test the hypothesis that adolescents' occupational aspirations are more gender-stereotypical if they live in regions where the societal norm towards gender equality is weaker. For our analysis, we combine rich survey data describing a sample of 1,434 Swiss adolescents in 8th grade with municipal voting results dealing with gender equality and policy. We find that occupational aspirations are strongly gender-segregated and that adolescents living in municipalities with a stronger norm towards gender equality are significantly less likely to aspire for a gender-stereotypical occupation, even after controlling for individual-level controls.At the same time, gender norms have virtually no power in explaining the gender stereotypicity of individual occupational aspirations - challenging the widespread conception that societal gender norms are one of the most important determinants of occupational gender segregation. Moreover, a more detailed analysis shows that the association may mainly reflect the intergenerational transmission of occupations from parents to their children and/or regional differences in the prevailing occupational structure.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission, preferences, gender norms, occupational segregation, occupational choice, regional occupational structure

JEL Classification: J16, J24

Suggested Citation

Kuhn, Andreas and Wolter, Stefan C., The Strength of Gender Norms and Gender-Stereotypical Occupational Aspirations Among Adolescents. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12861, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3521678

Andreas Kuhn (Contact Author)

Swiss Federal Institute of Vocational Education and Research ( email )

Kirchlindachstrasse 79
Zollikofen, 3052
Switzerland

Stefan C. Wolter

Swiss Coordination Centre for Research in Education (SKBF) ( email )

CH - 5000 Aarau
Switzerland
+41 62 835 23 90 (Phone)
+41 62 835 23 99 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.skbf-csre.ch

University of Bern - Department of Economics ( email )

Gesellschaftstrasse 49
Bern, CH-3012
Switzerland
+41 31 631 40 95 (Phone)
+41 31 631 39 92 (Fax)

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