Worth the work

The labour supply of low-educated women from an economic and sociological perspective

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Mariëlle Cloïn
Publication date
17 September 2010
Number of pages
978 90 377 0514 0

Original title: Het werken waard.

Why do lower educated women work outside the home less often than higher educated women? And why are lower educated women overrepresented in the smallest part-time jobs? Is it not financially worthwhile for lower educated women to work or to work a lot of hours, or do they have more traditional views and ideas about the role of women?

The central question in this thesis is to what extent financial-economic and socio-cultural factors help explain the low labour participation of lower educated women. To do this, data on almost 2,000 mothers with a low and high education level were analysed, along with a further group of almost 1,200 lower educated women. The results show that - contrary to what is often thought - financial incentives and views have virtually the same influence on lower educated women as on higher educated women. Although lower educated women earn less and have more traditional views, in practice the two factors have a comparable influence on the labour supply of women, regardless of their education level.