Social Norms and Job Preferences: Why do women in Saudi Arabia choose not to work?
In Saudi Arabia, younger men are becoming more progressive and more accepting of having a wife who works outside the home for pay. However, the family backgrounds and upbringings of young women may have conditioned them to believe otherwise. Such pressures may lead them to believe that marriage and employment are mutually exclusive, and that the social cost of not finding a husband is very high. In this project, I study whether single, educated women in Saudi Arabia are aware of how socially acceptable it is to have a wife who works outside the home for pay. Through an information intervention, I inform women college seniors of young men’s marriage preferences and observe the effect on women’s attitudes and labor market decisions.