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

50 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020

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)

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: occupational choice, occupational segregation, gender norms, preferences, intergenerational transmission, 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 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.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

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