IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

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

  • Francine Blau
  • Patricia Simpson
  • Deborah Anderson

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 29-71

in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:4:y:1998:i:3:p:29-71
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Paula England, 1982. "The Failure of Human Capital Theory to Explain Occupational Sex Segregation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 358-370.
  2. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1989. "Women and Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 61-75, Winter.
  3. Hutchens, Robert M., 1991. "Segregation curves, Lorenz curves, and inequality in the distribution of people across occupations," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 31-51, February.
  4. Carrington, William J & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "On Measuring Segregation in Samples with Small Units," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(4), pages 402-09, October.
  5. Elaine Sorensen, 1990. "The Crowding Hypothesis and Comparable Worth," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(1), pages 55-89.
  6. William J. Carrington & Kenneth R. Troske, 1995. "Gender Segregation in Small Firms," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 503-533.
  7. Bertaux, Nancy E., 1991. "The roots of today's "women's jobs" and "men's jobs": Using the index of dissimilarity to measure occupational segregation by gender," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 433-459, October.
  8. Francine D. Blau & Wallace E. Hendricks, 1979. "Occupational Segregation by Sex: Trends and Prospects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(2), pages 197-210.
  9. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
  10. Duncan, Greg J & Hoffman, Saul, 1979. "On-the-Job Training and Earnings Differences by Race and Sex," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(4), pages 594-603, November.
  11. Victor R. Fuchs, 1975. "A Note on Sex Segregation in Professional Occupations," NBER Chapters, in: Explorations in Economic Research, Volume 2, number 1, pages 105-111 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
  13. Anne B. Royalty, 1996. "The effects of job turnover on the training of men and women," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 505-521, April.
  14. Anne Beeson Royalty, 1996. "The Effects of Job Turnover on the Training of Men and Women," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 506-521, April.
  15. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-71, July.
  16. Cabral, Robert & Ferber, Marianne A & Green, Carole A, 1981. "Men and Women in Fiduciary Institutions: A Study of Sex Differences in Career Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(4), pages 573-80, November.
  17. Erica L. Groshen, 1991. "The Structure of the Female/Male Wage Differential: Is It Who You Are, What You Do, or Where You Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 457-472.
  18. Andrea H. Beller, 1982. "Occupational Segregation by Sex: Determinants and Changes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(3), pages 371-392.
  19. David Neumark & Roy J. Bank & Kyle D. Van Nort, 1995. "Sex Discrimination in Restaurant Hiring: An Audit Study," NBER Working Papers 5024, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Claudia Goldin, 1990. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gold90-1, December.
  21. Bielby, William T & Baron, James N, 1986. "Sex Segregation within Occupations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 43-47, May.
  22. Bergmann, Barbara R, 1971. "The Effect on White Incomes of Discrimination in Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(2), pages 294-313, March-Apr.
  23. Kenneth R Troske & William J Carrington, 1992. "Gender Segregation Small Firms," Working Papers 92-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised May 1993.
  24. Gary S. Becker, . "The Allocation of Effort, Specific Human Capital, and Differences Between Men and Women in Earnings and Occupations," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 83-20, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  25. Barbara R. Bergmann, 1974. "Occupational Segregation, Wages and Profits When Employers Discriminate by Race or Sex," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 103-110, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:4:y:1998:i:3:p:29-71. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.