Wage Premiums on Education and the Increased Female University Enrollment Rate in Sweden 1970-1990

University essay from Lunds universitet/Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen

Abstract: Before 1977 more men than women enrolled in university education in Sweden. The female enrollment rate started to increased compare to male in 1973 and in 1977 it surpassed the male enrollment rate. Between 1978 and 1990 women remained at a stable level of c.60% of the newly enrolled students. The years 1970-1990 also represents the time period when women greatly expanded their participation in the labor force. This thesis investigates why women increased their university enrollment and why it remained at a level higher than men. Ocular inspection of time series over the period 1970-1990 as well as regressions are used to analyze potential financial causes, such as the wage premiums to education, of the changes. The conclusion is that both financial factors and political reforms like the reform of higher education in 1977 influenced the enrollment rates for women. This is true especially for the jump in female enrollment rates. Why a higher proportion of women compared to men enrolled in university is harder to determine, but the combination of political reforms, changed expectations on work, wage premiums and unemployment rates are likely to have effected this.

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