Against the background of the current (economic) research which concentrates particularly on individual and structural factors, this paper examines if and to what extent social norms (in terms of attitudes towards gender roles and work commitment) can make a complementary statement in explaining women’s employment status and number of working hours. The impact is presumed to be enhanced through norms shared by people belonging to the same households, peer groups, and by residents of the same region. The analysis relies on a rich German dataset and employs a probit model with sample selection. The results highlight, among other things, the importance of the ‘relevant others’ (particularly partners living in the same household and peers sharing similar social and work characteristics, but not necessarily geographical proximity) in explaining women’s employment status.

Zierahn, Ulrich und Andreia Tolciu (2012), Women and work: what role do social norms play?, International Review of Applied Economics 26(6), 711-733. Download


Zierahn, Ulrich
Tolciu, Andreia


women’s employment status, households and families, social norms, probit model with sample selection