ERF 26th Annual Conference

The Women Empowering Effect of Higher Education






August, 2020


I2. Education and Research Institutions

J2. Demand and Supply of Labor

This paper analyses the effects of expansion of higher education on labor market outcomes, paying special attention to heterogeneity by gender in a context with very low female labor force participation. Exploiting a staggered rollout of constructing public universities in Egypt in the 60s-70s, the paper documents that the opening of a new university in an individual's province (governorate) increases the likelihood of obtaining a university degree. The impact is driven mainly by women, as social norms were limiting their mobility to get higher education elsewhere. The paper shows that exposure to higher education increased women’s likelihood of joining the labor force, and improved the type of jobs they take: e.g., formal, paid, and public employment. The paper also shows evidence of improved marriage outcomes, as well as higher levels of social empowerment for the exposed cohorts. Men, however, seem to be unaffected by the expansion. The effects are robust to several robustness checks.
The Women Empowering Effect of Higher Education

Research Fellows

Ahmed Elsayed

Senior Research Associate, IZA- Institute of Labor...

The Women Empowering Effect of Higher Education


Alina Shirshikova

IZA- Institute of Labor Economics in Bonn