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Opting out among women with elite education

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  • Joni Hersch

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Abstract

Whether highly educated women are exiting the labor force to care for their children has generated a great deal of media attention, even though academic studies find little evidence of opting out. This paper shows that female graduates of elite institutions have lower labor market involvement than their counterparts from less selective institutions. Although elite graduates are more likely to earn advanced degrees, marry at later ages, and have higher expected earnings, there is little difference in labor market activity by college selectivity among women without children and women who are not married. But the presence of children is associated with far lower labor market activity among married elite graduates. Most women eventually marry and have children, and the net effect is that labor market activity is on average lower among elite graduates than among those from less selective institutions. The largest gap in labor market activity between graduates of elite institutions and less selective institutions is among MBAs, with married mothers who are graduates of elite institutions 30 percentage points less likely to be employed full-time than graduates of less selective institutions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Joni Hersch, 2013. "Opting out among women with elite education," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 469-506, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:11:y:2013:i:4:p:469-506
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-013-9199-4
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11150-013-9199-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:3:p:789-865 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(3), pages 789-865, September.
    3. Francine D. Blau & Anne E. Winkler, 2017. "Women, Work, and Family," NBER Working Papers 23644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ong, David & Wang, Jue, 2015. "Income attraction: An online dating field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 13-22.
    5. repec:spr:izalbr:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40172-017-0059-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Heather Antecol, 2015. "Career and Family Choices Among Elite Liberal Arts Graduates," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1089-1120, August.
    7. Alexandra Killewald & Xiaolin Zhou, 2015. "Mothers' Long-Term Employment Patterns," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-247, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Opting out; Married women; Female graduates; Elite institutions; Women graduates; Mothers; Labor market activity; I21; J16; J22;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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