David Reimer, Stephanie Steinmetz
Gender Differentiation in Higher Education: Educational Specialization and Labour Market Risks in Spain and Germany

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Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 99
ISSN: 1437-8574

The objective of this paper is to investigate the relationship between gender differentiation in tertiary education and labour market hazards. We analyze how differences between male and female tertiary graduates in the chosen degree level and field of study affect the likelihood to be unemployed or obtain a low status job. In order to learn about the role of institutional context, we compare Germany and Spain, two countries that differ with respect to horizontal (field of study) and vertical (degree level) segregation by gender as well as to the linkage between the education and labour market system. Using Labour Force Survey data from the year 2000, our results of logistic regression models as well as a non-linear decomposition technique generally confirm our expectation that the field of study explains a sizable portion of the gender gap in unemployment and low status jobs in both countries. Whereas the level of tertiary degree does not matter with respect to unemployment in either country, it explains part of the female disadvantage in holding a low status job in Spain. Moreover, our analyses show that women with a degree in a predominantly male field of study are not systematically disadvantaged compared to men. Finally, even though the role of the institutional context is hard to evaluate, it seems that, for the two selected countries, the horizontal and vertical gender segregation is more relevant in Spain than in Germany.