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Part-time Work - A Trap for Women`s Careers? An Analysis of the Roles of Heterogeneity and State Dependence

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  • Mary Gregory
  • Sara Connolly

Abstract

Part-time work has been a major area of employment growth for women in the UK over recent decades. Almost half the women in employment now work part-time and two-thirds have worked part-time for some part of their working lives. Part-time employment is welcomed by many women as a means of maintaining labour market participation particularly during the childcare years. However many part-time jobs are low paid and offer little opportunity for career advancement. This leads to conflicting views of the role of part-time work: allowing a full-time career to be maintained or as a dead-end trap for women`s careers. This paper examines this issue using cohort data which follows women`s labour market involvement up to age 42. The pathways followed through full-time employment, part-time employment and non-employment are found to be complex and highly varied. Using several estimation methods (pooled multinomial logits, dynamic random effects binary choice logits and selection-corrected random effects probits) on a 20-year panel we examine the relative roles of heterogeneity in characteristics and state dependence in explaining the choice of labour market state. Our major finding is that a woman`s labour market history reveals itself as the major determinant of subsequent labour market state, dominating the role of characteristics. Part-time work serves two different functions. Women whose past history involves full-time work even in conjunction with spells of part-time work or non-employment, revert to full-time work. Women whose labour market history combines spells in part-time work with non-employment are unlikely subsequently to take up full-time work.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 245.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:245

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Keywords: Female Employment; Part-time Work; Persistence; Life-cycle; Dynamic Panel; Discrete Choice;

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  1. Narendranathan, W. & Elias, P., 1990. "Influences of Past History on the Incidence of Youth Unemployment: Empirical Finding for the U.K," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 369, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Hakim, Catherine, 1998. "Social Change and Innovation in the Labour Market: Evidence from the Census SARs on Occupational Segregation and Labour Mobility, Part-Time Work and Students' Jobs, Homework and Self-Employment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293811.
  3. Dean R. Hyslop, 1999. "State Dependence, Serial Correlation and Heterogeneity in Intertemporal Labor Force Participation of Married Women," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1255-1294, November.
  4. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1995. "Selection corrections for panel data models under conditional mean independence assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 115-132, July.
  5. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  6. Florence Jaumotte, 2003. "Female Labour Force Participation: Past Trends and Main Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 376, OECD Publishing.
  7. Jacqueline O'Reilly & Silke Bothfeld, 2002. "What happens after working part time? Integration, maintenance or exclusionary transitions in Britain and western Germany," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 409-439, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Helena Corrales Herrero & Beatriz Rodríguez Prado, 2011. "El empleo a tiempo parcial entre los jóvenes: Puente o trampa," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 6, in: Antonio Caparrós Ruiz (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 6, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 42, pages 677-692 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
  2. Maria Evandrou & Jane Falkingham & Tom Sefton, 2008. "Family ties: Women’s work and family histories and their association with incomes in later life in the UK," CASE Papers /135, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  3. Juan R. Cuadrado Roura & Carlos Iglesias Fernández & Raquel Llorente Heras, 2007. "Regional differences in women´s part time employment. An analysis of supply and demand," Working Papers 03/07, Instituto Universitario de Análisis Económico y Social.

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