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Essays on gender inequality in the labour market

Philipp, Julia (2020) Essays on gender inequality in the labour market. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004320


Despite substantial progress, gender gaps in labour market outcomes persist. Several key factors help explain remaining gaps. First, men and women continue to work in different jobs. Second, parenthood appears to be a crucial point in the life course at which gender gaps widen. Third, traditional beliefs and norms about the appropriate roles of men and women, particularly in the context of parenthood, are obstacles to closing remaining gender gaps. At the same time, advancements in automation technologies are transforming the world of work and may have genderspecific impacts. Motivated by these observations, this thesis advances understanding of several factors related to gender inequality in the labour market. These factors are gendered university major choices, attitudes towards gender roles in the context of parenthood, and effects of recent transformations in labour markets on the gender gap in pay. The thesis consists of four empirical papers. The first paper studies the role of intergenerational transmission for gendered university major choices of young adults. Using regression analysis and exploiting survey data from a recent cohort of university students in Germany, the paper investigates to what extent and why gender-typicality of mother's and father's occupation affect the gender-typicality of their child's university major. Results show signifficant intergenerational associations and indicate that parental resources and a transmission of gender roles are both relevant transmission channels, particularly for sons' major choices. The second and third paper examine how gender role attitudes are shaped in the context of parenthood. The second paper analyses effects of the 2007 paid parental leave reform (Elterngeld) in Germany on parents' gender role attitudes; specifically, attitudes towards the gender division of work, towards the roles of fathers, and towards the labour force participation of mothers. Exploiting the reform as a natural experiment, results indicate that men affected by the reform hold more traditional attitudes towards the role of fathers, whereas there is no effect on the other two iv outcomes. Focusing on the UK, the third paper explores whether parenting daughters affects attitudes towards a traditional male breadwinner model in which it is the husband's role to work and the wife's to stay at home. Using panel data and individual fixed effects models, the results indicate that fathers are less likely to hold traditional views on the gender division of work if they raise a girl. No robust effects on mothers' attitudes are found. Results from the second and third paper inform the broader literature on attitudinal change, suggesting that gender role attitudes are not stable throughout the life course and can be significantly shaped by adulthood experiences. The final paper studies whether technological change increases gender inequality. Using individual-level data from around 28 million individuals in 20 European countries and an instrumental variable strategy, the study provides the first large-scale evidence concerning the impact of industrial robots on the gender gap in earnings. Findings indicate that robot adoption increases both male and female earnings but also increases the gender pay gap. These results are driven by countries with high initial levels of gender inequality and can be explained by the fact that men in medium- and high-skilled occupations disproportionately benefit from robotization, through a productivity effect.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Julia Philipp
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Supervisor: Özcan, Berkay and Costa-Font, Joan

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