Changes in Gender Inequality among Migrants: A Matter of Gender Norms and Age at Migration
This paper studies the importance of gender roles and family norms for the persistence of gender inequality. We exploit the mass migration from Suriname to the Netherlands occurred between the unexpected announcement of Suriname independence from the Netherlands (February 1974) and the actual independence (November 1975). Two distinct ethnic groups with opposing family structures and gender roles arrived in the Netherlands: Creoles with female-headed families and Hindustani with male-headed families. Using Dutch administrative data we find that exposure to the Dutch context improved schooling outcomes of girls relative to boys in both ethnic groups. Remarkably, we find that the impact of schooling on gender inequality in the labor market is different for the two ethnic groups. Creole girls are able to convert their relative gains in schooling into better labor market outcomes, but Hindustani girls do not reduce the gender inequality on the labor market. This suggests that labor market returns to schooling depend on family norms and gender roles, and that improving schooling opportunities for girls might not be enough for reducing gender inequality on the labor market.