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Culture as a Barrier: Gender Inequality among Migrants

  • Location
    Erasmus University Rotterdam, Lounge/kitchen E Building floor E1
  • Date and time

    November 24, 2022
    12:00 - 13:00

This is a Mock Job Talk.

This paper studies the importance of culture on the persistence of gender inequality. We exploit the mass migration from Suriname to the Netherlands that took place between the unexpected announcement of the Surinamese independence from the Netherlands (February 1974) and actual independence (November 1975). Two distinct ethnic groups with opposing gender roles and family structures arrived in the Netherlands: Creole female-headed families and Hindustani male-headed families. Using Dutch administrative data we find that exposure to the Dutch socio-economic environment improved schooling outcomes of girls relative to boys in both ethnic groups. However, we find remarkable differences between the two ethnic groups on gender inequality in the labor market. Creole women convert their relative gains in schooling into better labor market outcomes, by closing the within group gender wage gap. The gender wage gap remains unchanged and large within Hindustani migrants. This result suggests that labor market returns to schooling depend on gender roles and family norms, and that improving schooling opportunities for girls might not be sufficient to reduce gender inequality in the labor market.