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Continuing Progress? Trends in Occupational Segregation in the United States Over the 1970s and 1980s

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Patricia Simpson
  • Deborah Anderson

Abstract

This study uses comparable data on 470 detailed occupations from the 1970, 1980 and 1990 Censuses to analyze trends in occupational segregation in the United States in the 1980s and compare them in detail to the 1970s experience of declining segregation. We find that the trend towards reduced segregation did indeed continue into the 1980s at only a slightly slower pace. In both decades, changes in sex composition within occupations accounted for the major share of the decline in segregation (compared to changes in the mix of occupations in the economy). We also find that the pattern of changes in the sex composition of occupations and in the employment distribution of workers that produced the observed reductions in segregation were remarkably similar in each of these two periods. This similarity potentially poses some problems for the future. As women continue to enter the same areas, resegregation, which we found to have relatively moderate effects in the 1970s and 1980s, becomes an increasing possibility. Continued progress towards reducing occupational segregation requires that women succeed in entering a broader range of traditionally male occupations and/or a greater flow of men into traditionally female occupations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6716.

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Date of creation: Sep 1998
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6716

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Cited by:
  1. Barón, Juan D. & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2008. "Occupational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap in Private- and Public-Sector Employment: A Distributional Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 3562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Poulsen, Anders & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Francine Blau & Peter Brummund & Albert Liu, 2013. "Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 1970–2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 471-492, April.
  4. Juan J. Dolado & Florentino Felgueroso & Miguel Almunia, 2008. "Do men and women-economists choose the same research fields?: Evidence from top-50 departments," Working Papers 2008-15, FEDEA.
  5. Frijters, Paul, 2001. "Interpretation problems with changes in indices based on categorizations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 375-379, September.
  6. Antecol, Heather & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2013. "Do psychosocial traits help explain gender segregation in young people's occupations?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 59-73.
  7. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.
  8. Juan Dolado & Florentino Felgueroso & Miguel Almunia, 2012. "Are men and women-economists evenly distributed across research fields? Some new empirical evidence," SERIEs, Spanish Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 367-393, September.

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