Working Paper BETA #2018-39

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Title : Why do young people make atypical gender-related study choices? An analysis of French master’s graduates

Author(s) : Magali Jaoul-Grammare

Abstract : Despite laws and educational reforms in favour of gender equality, in France both training courses and professions remain highly gendered. The educational system and the labour market continue to conform to stereotypes, and both girls and boys continue to base their educational choices on what society assigns their genders as areas of competence. However, about 10% of master’s graduates make atypical study choices, in the sense that they chose an orientation standardly chosen by the opposite gender. This paper proposes an empirical analysis of these ‘atypical’ students. Our results show that these individuals do not have specific profiles, either in terms of schooling background or social origin. By estimating a logistic regression, we highlight the importance of the expected returns and of the professional project in the atypical study choice. We also underline that although the unconventional choice allows a more rapid integration on the labour market and appears as a cost-effective solution for girls, it does not erase the wage inequalities between men and women.

Key-words : Educational return, Gender-related study choice, Labour market integration.

JEL Classification : C25, I24, J24