Anne Ardila Brenøe

Ph.d.-forsvar: Anne Ardila Brenøe:"Causes and Consequences of Gender Differences in Human Capital Formation"

This PhD dissertation consists of four self-contained chapters that revolve around the question of how the social environment shapes the individual’s human capital with a special focus on gender differences in such formation. While each chapter is a result of independent work, the four chapters as a whole provide new insights on the causes and consequences of gender differences in the accumulation of human capital.

Chapter 1 documents how sibling gender composition affects women's gender identity. I show that women with a brother relative to those with a sister acquire more traditional gender norms with negative consequences for their labor earnings. I provide evidence of increased gender-specialized parenting in families with mixed sex children, suggesting a stronger transmission of gender norms. Chapter 2 investigates how high school gender composition affects students’ college participation within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We find that having a larger proportion of female peers reduces women’s and increases men’s probability of enrolling in and graduating from STEM fields. Chapter 3 examines the differential effects of family disadvantage on the education and adult labor market outcomes of men and women. We show that gender gaps in educational attainment, employment, and earnings are increasing in maternal education (benefiting daughters), while paternal education decreases the gender gaps in educational attainment (favoring sons) and labor market outcomes (favoring daughters). Chapter 4 studies the intergenerational transmission of time preferences. We document that parents transmit their time preferences to children, that the transmission is particularly strong from mothers to daughters, and that the intergenerational propagation of impatience does not fade out as children age.