Sex differences and occupational choice. Theorizing for policy informed by behavioral science.

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Charlotta Stern, Lotta Stern


Occupations are segregated with respect to sex, even in modern, egalitarian societies. There are strong pressures to eliminate segregation and therefore strong reasons to correctly theorize why segregation persists. The dominant view underpinning most public policies is essentially that environmental factors nudge women and men into different occupational paths. Nudging, however, ignores research suggesting that psychological traits that influence occupational choice differs between women and men, on average.

Some of the most well-documented and persistent average sex differences between men and women suggest that the taken-for-granted assumption that an egalitarian society would exhibit a more or less equal distribution of men and women across the occupational landscape may be mistaken. Rather, models of occupational choice informed by individual differences in preferences, broadly understood, would help us better explain how men and women behave in the labor market. Differences in occupational preferences will affect choices. Therefore, differences in proportions of women and men across professions may be in line with an egalitarian society and the well-being and best interest of both men and women in society.

The article can be read here.

Stern, C., & Madison, G. (2022). Sex differences and occupational choice. Theorizing for policy informed by behavioral science. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 202, 694-702.

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Managers on balancing employment protection and what’s good for the company: Intended and unintended consequences of a semi-coercive institution
Article (with peer review)Publication
Stern, C., & Weidenstedt, L.
Publication year


Published in

Economic and Industrial Democracy.


Sweden’s institutionalized employment protection legislation, ‘LAS’, is interesting theoretically because parts of it are semi-coercive. The semi-coerciveness makes it possible for firms and unions under collective agreements to negotiate departures from the law. Thus, the law is more flexible than the legal text suggests. The present study explores intended and unintended consequences of LAS as experienced by managers of smaller manufacturing companies. The results suggest that managers support the idea of employment protection in principle but face a difficult balancing act in dealing with LAS. From their point of view, the legislation’s institutional legitimacy is low, producing local cultures of hypocrisy and pretense. The article gives insights into how institutions aimed at specific, intended behavior sometimes end up producing unintended consequences fostering the opposite.

The article in total can be read here.

Working Paper No. 357: Managing Work from Anywhere: Six Points to Consider for HR Professionals
Working paperPublication
Allstrin, S., Grafström, J., Stern, C. & Weidenstedt, L.
Publication year


Published in

Ratio Working Paper.


Purpose: The aim of this study is to assist human resource practitioners, leaders, and managers in their decision-making processes regarding the future of remote work by contributing with insights into, and synthesis of, existing research regarding working from home and working from anywhere.
Design/methodology/approach: We conducted a general review of the international literature in the fields of remote work, work from home, and work from anywhere with the aim to inductively discern themes research hitherto has dealt with.
Findings: We identified three larger themes: (1) productivity and efficiency, (2) remote leadership, and (3) work environment and work-life balance, each incorporating subthemes that contribute to a greater understanding of relevant topics in the context of remote work. In order to provide relevant information regarding the research front and guidance towards worthwhile considerations for HR professionals, leaders, and managers, we summarize our results in six concise points, each suggesting relevant questions to assess in relation to the future of remote work.
Originality: Companies will be forced to determine how to approach the post-Covid era and establish a new status quo regarding the future of office work that, ideally, will be mutually beneficial for employers and employees—whether it incorporates office, remote, or hybrid work. To the best of our knowledge a general review of the literature on remote work with specific, evidence-based, points to consider for HR professionals has not yet been undertaken.

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