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Institut für Betriebswirtschaftslehre Business and Personnel Economics

Patricia Palffy successfully defended her dissertation. Congratulations!

Her dissertation is titled "Towards a More Diverse and Inclusive Workforce: An Empirical Analysis of Training Investments and Interventions".

In her thesis, she investigates two dimensions of diversity and inclusion that have received  particular attention in recent years: (1) gender diversity and (29 reducing skills shortages through the inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds First, she explores the determinants of occupational gender segregation by studying the role of social gender norms in occupational choices of adolescents. Second, she conducts a randomized controlled field experiment to investigate whether brief information interventions may counter gendered occupational choices. Third, she investigates which factors can prevent the loss of adolescents with challenging backgrounds during the school-to-work transition.

In the first part of her thesis, she shows that adolescent males in regions where social norms are more traditional are more likely to apply for typically male occupations. However, this is not the case for females. This finding indicates that adolescent males align their occupational choices more strongly with social norms that adolescent females. Her thesis thus challenges the prevailing assumption that gender diversity efforts should mainly target women and emphasizes the need to also start investing research and policy efforts in opening doors to female-dominated domains for men (get publication).

In the second part of her thesis, her findings show that a brief intervention featuring counter-stereotypical framing and female role models in STEM substantially increases women's applications for STEM jobs. However, an equivalent intervention on health and care does not increase men's applications for those jobs. This finding suggests that firms and policymakers cannot expect strategies that are effective in encouraging women to apply for male-dominated occupations to automatically work equally well in encouraging men to apply for female-dominated occupations. Rather, different approaches and, most likely, more long-term efforts of firms, policymakers, and researchers in gradually changing masculinity norms in society are needed. 

The third part of her thesis shifts its focus to examine whether and, if so, how firms can support young people with disadvantages individual circumstances in the transition from school to the labor market. Her findings show that combinations of human, personal, and social capital resourcesrather than single rescources alonedetermine a successful labor market entry of young people. Most importantly, the results show that even if young people lack personal and parental resources, firms can compensate these disadvantages by providing work-related social capital during training (e.g., a good apprentice-supervisor relationship) in order to still ensure a successful labor market entry.