We empirically investigate the determinants of the female decision of investing in post-secondary education, focusing on the role played by the context where young women take their education decision. We first develop a stylized two-period model to analyze the female decision of investing in education and highlight two main determinants: the time to be devoted to child care and the probability of working in a skilled job. We then use data on educational decisions of women in the 17-21 age group drawn from EU-Silc, available for the years 2004-2008. From the same survey we construct context indicators at the regional level, and exploit regional variability to identify how women's educational investment reacts to changes in the surrounding context. We find that the share of working women with children below 5 and the share of women with managerial positions or self-employed positively affect the probability that women enrol in post-secondary education. The same does not hold for men.
post-secondary education university child care time requirement managerial positions self-employment context EU-Silc data repeated cross-section