Gender differences in aspirations, attitudes, investments & behaviours

(with Henning Finseraas & Andreas Kotsadam) 2020. "Ancestry Culture, Assimilation, and Voter Turnout in Two Generations". Political Behavior, DOI 10.1007/s11109-020-09617-2.

Women vote less than men in many parts of the world. Whether this gender gap is due to cultural preferences stemming from traditional gender norms or to structural constraints is hard to answer because preferences and beliefs are endogenous to the socioeconomic and institutional environment. To address this problem, we use the so-called epidemiological approach. This approach exploits the portability of culture as a source of identification, by comparing migrants from different cultures of origin but living in similar institutional environments. We study the gender patterns in turnout of immigrants and their children in Norway using administrative register data on voter turnout. We find that gender traditionalism at country of origin is significantly correlated with the gender gap in the first generation, but has no effect in the second generation. Together, our results suggest that early institutional exposure is important for political assimilation.

(with Lucinda Platt) 2016. "Saying and Doing Gender: The Intergenerational Transmission of Attitudes towards the Sexual Division of Labour”. European Sociological Review, 32(6): 820-834.

The persistence of gender inequalities in the division of paid and unpaid work poses an important question for gender socialization research: what matters most for the intergenerational transmission of gender role attitudes, parental own attitudes, or parental behaviours? Using data for British children aged between 11 and 15 we estimate the independent influence of each of these two socialization channels on children’s attitudes towards the sexual division of labour (ASDL)... 

(with Lucinda Platt) 2015. "Nurse or Mechanic? Explaining Sex-Typed Occupational Aspirations amongst Young Children”. Social Forces, 93(1): 31-61.2015...

Boys and girls with sex-typical aspirations are significantly more likely to end up in sex-typical jobs as adults. This study investigates the role
of parental socialization and children’s agency in the formation of sex-typed occupational preferences using data for British children aged 11 to 15. We anchor agency in observable psychological attributes associated with children’s capacity to act in the face of constraints...




2012. “Socially-Embedded Investments: Explaining Gender Differences in Job-Specific Skills”. American Journal of Sociology, 118(3): 592-634. 

This article offers an innovative explanation for gender differences in
job specialization that connects individual choices to the social structure.
Decisions about jobs are modeled as a choice over different tenure-reward
slopes,which are steeper for more specialized skills. The choice of
job depends on expected duration. Individuals have imperfect information
and form expectations partly by observing the social context. Because women face greater constraints and uncertainties than men, their choices depend more on this context. This model is tested using data on European respondents nested in 234 different regions. Women are found to have more specialized jobs in regions where (1) the preceding generation’s job specialization diverged less by gender, (2) peers arrange a more equal division of housework, and (3) peers have fewer children. None of these contextual variables have significant effects on men.





Winner of the Robert K. Merton Award in Analytical Sociology, 2014

Winner of the European Academy of Sociology Best Paper Award, 2014



© 2018 by Javier G. Polavieja. Proudly created with