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Theses

Essais sur les normes et les inégalités de genre

Abstract : This dissertation examines the role of gender norms and institutions on human capital formation, labor supply, and political preferences. In the first chapter, I use both theoretical and empirical analysis to study the impact of offspring’s gender on their parental political beliefs toward gender issues. I examine the hypothesis that men’s political attitudes toward abortion do respond to the presence of a daughter, but differently according to their general political beliefs. This polarization effect of daughters means that the presence of a daughter is associated with more anti-abortion (respectively pro-abortion) views for right-wing (respectively left-wing) fathers. This argument is investigated in a simple economic model and its implications are studied empirically using two original datasets. The model predicts that fathers with paternalistic preferences adopt more extreme political positions when they have a daughter than when they have a son. The empirical investigation provides evidence of a polarization effect of daughters on fathers’ views on abortion. The magnitude of the effect corresponds to around 30% of the impact of right-wing political affiliation on abortion support. In the second chapter, together with E. Duchini, we investigate women’s employment decisions when institutions limit their chances of having a regular working schedule. We use a recent reform as a natural experiment to show that women do value flexibility when their children demand it. Before 2013, women whose youngest child was of primary school age were twice as likely as men not to work on Wednesdays. To measure mothers’ response, we exploit variations in the implementation of this policy over time and across the age of the youngest child. Our results show that, although mothers take advantage of the reform to close 1/3 of their initial gap in the probability of working on Wednesday with respect to the control group. This response seems to be driven by mothers who are more rewarded for a regular presence at work, such as those working in managerial positions. The third chapter reports the results of a large-scale randomized experiment showing that a light-touch, in-class intervention of external female role models, can influence students’ attitudes and contribute to a significant change in their choice of field of study. While the impact of peers and "horizontal exposure" on aspirations gained greater attention in the recent literature, surprisingly little is known about the impact of exposure to role models on students’ attitudes and schooling decisions. Together with T. Breda, J. Grenet and M. Monnet, we implemented and monitored a large-scale experiment in randomly selected high-school classes in France from September 2015 to February 2016. We first document gender differences in attitudes toward science, as well as the prevalence of stereotypical opinions with respect to women in science among high school students. Using random assignment of students to a one-hour intervention, we investigate the causal impact of role models on aspirations, attitudes, and educational investment. External female role models significantly reduce the prevalence of stereotypes associated to jobs in science, both for female and male students. Using exhaustive administrative data, we do not find significant effect of the treatment on the choices of year 10-students, but we show that the proportion of female students enrolled in selective science programs after high school graduation increases by 3 percentage points, which corresponds to a 30 percent-increase with respect to the baseline mean. These effects are essentially driven by high-achieving students.
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Clémentine van Effenterre. Essais sur les normes et les inégalités de genre. Economies et finances. École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017EHES0095⟩. ⟨tel-03168316⟩

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