Magnus Bygren. Foto: Stockholms universitet

Magnus Bygren


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Works at Department of Sociology
Telephone 08-16 34 97
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 B, plan 9
Room B 920
Postal address Sociologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm


Magnus Bygren teaches Quantitative Analysis in Sociology II. At the advanced level, he teaches in the courses Gender and Gender Structures, Causal Inference in Sociology, and Research Proposal. He also supervises at all levels. 


My research is concerned with mechanisms behind vertical and horizontal segregation in various contexts. How do stereotypes and discrimination affect the reproduction of inequality in the labor market? How and why do men’s and women’s careers diverge after parenthood? What are the consequences of school choice reforms for educational inequality and school segregation? I use large-scale survey and register data, experimental, and quasi-experimental methods to answer these and similar reserarch questions.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Magnus Bygren, Michael Gähler, Charlotta Magnusson. Social Forces

    We know that parenthood has different consequences for men’s and women’s careers. Still, the research remains inconclusive on the question of whether this is mainly a consequence of a fatherhood premium, a motherhood penalty, or both. A common assumption is that women fall behind in terms of pay when they become mothers.

    Based on longitudinal data from the Swedish Level of Living Survey (LNU), and individual fixed-effects models, we examine the support for this assumption by mapping the size of parenthood effects on wages during the years 1968–2010. During this period, Swedish women’s labor supply increased dramatically, dual-earner family policies were institutionalized, and society’s norms on the gendered division of labor changed. We describe the development of parenthood effects on wages during this transformative period.

    Our results indicate that both genders benefit from a gross parenthood premium, both at the beginning of the period and in recent years, but the size of this premium is larger for men. Individual fixed-effects models indicate that the wage premium is mainly the result of parents’ increased labor market investments. Controlling for these, women suffer from a small motherhood penalty early in the period under study whereas parenthood is unrelated to women’s wages in later years and to men’s wages throughout the period. Neither for men nor for women do we find a statistically significant period change in the parenthood effects. Instead, patterns are remarkably stable over time given the radical changes in family policies and norms that took place during the period examined.

  • 2020. Magnus Bygren, Erik Rosenqvist. European Sociological Review

    We ask if school choice, through its effect on sorting across schools, affects high school graduates’ application decisions to higher education. We exploit a school choice reform that dramatically increased achievement sorting across secondary schools in the municipality of Stockholm, employing a before–after design with a control group of students in similar schools located outside this municipality. The reform had a close to zero mean effect on the propensity to apply for tertiary educational programs, but strongly affected the self-selection by achievement into the kinds of higher educational programs applied for. Low achievers increased their propensity to apply for the ‘low-status’ educational programs, on average destining them to less prestigious, less well-paid occupations, and high achievers increased their propensity to apply for ‘high-status’ educational programs, on average destining them to more prestigious, well-paid occupations. The results suggest that increased sorting across schools reinforces differences across schools and groups in ‘cultures of ambition’. Although these effects translate into relatively small increases in the gender gap, the immigration gap, and the parental education gap in educational choice, our results indicate that school choice, and the increased sorting it leads to, through conformity mechanisms in schools polarizes educational choices of students across achievement groups.

  • 2019. Magnus Bygren. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

    Group differences in average grades prior to and after a step-wise introduction of blinded examinations at Stockholm University are examined. Relative to students with 'native' names, students with 'foreign' names appear to experience weak positive bias in the grading of their examinations, but the estimated effect is sensitive to model specification. No substantial effects of blinding examinations with respect to male-female gaps are found. The results suggest that examiners - when the names of students are disclosed to them - if anything have a weak tendency to positively discriminate for students perceived to have an immigrant background, but they do not appear to discriminate on the basis of gender.

  • 2018. Maria Brandén, Magnus Bygren, Michael Gähler. Population, Space and Place

    It is well known that couples tend to relocate for the sake of the man's career rather than the woman's, also known as the “trailing spouse phenomenon.” The role of employer choices in this process is unknown however. If employers are hesitant to make job offers to women who live a long way from the workplace (e.g., because of work–family balance concerns or a perceived risk that they will not follow through on their applications, or stay hired if employed), this tendency might constitute an underlying mechanism behind the moving premium of partnered men. Ours is the first study to empirically test whether employers prefer geographically distant men over geographically distant women. We sent applications for 1,410 job openings in the Swedish labour market, randomly assigning gender and parental status to otherwise equivalent applications from cohabiting or married women and men and recorded employer callbacks to these. The results indicate that employers in general tend to disfavour job applicants who live a long way from the employer's workplace. This tendency is stronger for women, both for mothers and for women with no children. Our estimated effects are imprecise but clearly suggest that employer recruitment choices contribute to the trailing spouse phenomenon by offering men a larger pool of geographically distant jobs. We call for more research on this hitherto ignored mechanism behind the trailing spouse phenomenon.

  • 2017. Magnus Bygren, Erlandsson Anni, Michael Gähler. European Sociological Review 33 (3), 337-348

    In research on fatherhood premiums and motherhood penalties in career-related outcomes, employers’ discriminatory behaviours are often argued to constitute a possible explanation for observed gender gaps. However, there is as yet no conclusive evidence of such discrimination. Utilizing a field experiment design, we test (i) whether job applicants are subject to recruitment discrimination on the basis of their gender and parenthood status, and (ii) whether discrimination by gender and parenthood is conditional on the qualifications required by the job applied for. We applied for 2,144 jobs in the Swedish labour market, randomly assigning gender and parenthood status to fictitious job applicants. Based on the rate of callbacks, we do not find that employers practise systematic recruitment discrimination on the basis of the job applicants’ gender or parental status, neither in relation to less qualified nor more highly qualified jobs.

  • 2017. Magnus Bygren, Ryszard Szulkin. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 45 (17), 50-55

    Aims: It is common in the context of evaluations that participants have not been selected on the basis of transparent participation criteria, and researchers and evaluators many times have to make do with observational data to estimate effects of job training programs and similar interventions. The techniques developed by researchers in such endeavours are useful not only to researchers narrowly focused on evaluations, but also to social and population science more generally, as observational data overwhelmingly are the norm, and the endogeneity challenges encountered in the estimation of causal effects with such data are not trivial. The aim of this article is to illustrate how register data can be used strategically to evaluate programs and interventions and to estimate causal effects of participation in these. Methods: We use propensity score matching on pretreatment-period variables to derive a synthetic control group, and we use this group as a comparison to estimate the employment-treatment effect of participation in a large job-training program. Results: We find the effect of treatment to be small and positive but transient. Conclusions: Our method reveals a strong regression to the mean effect, extremely easy to interpret as a treatment effect had a less advanced design been used (e.g. a within-subjects panel data analysis), and illustrates one of the unique advantages of using population register data for research purposes.

  • 2016. Magnus Bygren. Sociology of education 89 (2), 118-136

    To test the effect of ability grouping on grades and the attainment of higher education, this study examines a naturally occurring experimentan admission reform that dramatically increased ability sorting between schools in the municipality of Stockholm. Following six cohorts of students (N= 79,020) from the age of 16 to 26, I find a mean effect close to zero and small positive and negative differentiating effects on grades. With regard to the attainment of higher education, I find a mean effect close to zero, the achievement group gap was unaffected, the immigrant-native gap increased, and the class background gap decreased. These results are consistent with much previous research that has found small mean effects of ability grouping. They are inconsistent with previous research, however, in that I find ability grouping's effects on gaps are rather small and point in different directions.

Show all publications by Magnus Bygren at Stockholm University

Last updated: April 28, 2021

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