Occupational Segregation by Gender of Recent College Graduates

Occupational Segregation by Gender of Recent College 

This paper seeks to understand whether similarly experienced and educated men and women follow gender norms by sorting into occupations associated with gendered traits (competitiveness, social contribution and inflexibility).  Using the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), this paper finds occupational segregation by gender within college major contributes to the gender wage gap of college graduates at the beginnings of their careers.  More specifically, gender differences in inflexibility of an occupation explain a significant portion of the gender wage gaps within 43% of the majors analysed.  Findings indicate that to decrease the gender wage gap of college graduates, policies should focus on making occupations more flexible to decrease gender differences in occupational choices within major and potentially enable more women into majors which feed into inflexible occupations.

Gender Differences in Aspired Occupations

This paper analyses gender differences in occupational preferences by investigating whether adolescents aspire to different occupations which are associated with gendered skills, non-pecuniary benefits or psychological traits.  Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and the O*NET database, I find that female (male) adolescents follow gender norms by aspiring to occupations associated with feminine (masculine) traits.  Furthermore, I find that parents, especially when they are the adolescent's role model, play an important role in the formation of occupational aspirations. With a gender earnings gap in aspirations of 19%, this paper indicates that policies to decrease occupational segregation and the gender wage gap may need to target the aspirations of adolescents by exposing young men and women to role models in gender atypical occupations.

Intergenerational Mobility in Gender-Role Attitudes in the United States: Correcting for Measurement Error

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Children and Young Adults, this paper analyses the effects of a mother’s gender-role attitudes on her children’s gender-role attitudes while correcting for measurement error.  Following Solon (1992), this paper shows that the intergenerational mobility of gender-role attitudes is more accurately estimated when using a long-run estimate of the mother’s gender-role attitudes.  Controlling for measurement error by using Two-Stage Least Squares estimation, I find that having a mother who holds more progressive (traditional) gender-role attitudes is associated with her children developing more progressive (traditional) gender-role attitudes.  Due to attenuation bias from measurement error, the mother’s effect on her children’s attitudes is larger than previously found revealing the important role that parents play in teaching children about gender norms and influencing their attitudes about specific norms.