What drives young adults’ occupational choices? Answering this question is especially relevant in Africa, where one fifth of the world’s youth reside. Through a survey of 1,003 young men and women in urban Uganda, we highlight the role of information, expectations and preferences for occupational choice. First, we show that respondents are misinformed about population earnings and overoptimistic about their own prospects. Providing information lowers their expectations, but does not affect choices. Second, we isolate preferences by estimating a random utility model and find that financial returns and family approval are important determinants of occupational choice. Finally, we show that expectations and preferences translate into occupational sorting by gender, a major driver of the gender earnings gap. We investigate possible avenues to mitigate this sorting. Simulated counterfactuals suggest that relaxing perceived family approval constraints is associated with a 11% increase in the share of women choosing a male-dominated occupation.
LocationAMI-P1-Aula M1 - Edificio Amigos
SpeakerCristina Clerici (Stockholm School of Economics)
Information, expectations and preferences: occupational choices of young adults in Uganda