Youth Transitions to Work and Marriage in Iran: Evidence from the School to Work Transition Survey

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Iran’s young men and women face serious challenges in their transitions to employment and marriage. We study the factors that affect these transitions using the 2005 School to Work Transition Survey (SWTS). As this survey contains detailed retrospective data of education, employment, and marital outcomes for youth ages 15-29, it provides a new and valuable tool for exploring the challenges facing these youth. In our analysis of the transition to employment, which employs discrete-time hazard models and probit models of women’s desired and actual labor force participation, we find that (1) the duration of unemployment increases secularly with men’s but not women’s education, (2) parental background significantly affects men but not women, and (3) labor force participation of a mother is the strongest predictor of a daughter’s labor force participation. For the transition to marriage, we find that job stability is the most important determinant of the age of marriage, as both years of employment and high quality employment contracts accelerate the marriage transition. Among women we find that the transition to marriage is delayed significantly by both work experience and increased education. We discuss the relevance of these findings in designing policies to help these youth in their transitions.

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