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

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  • Francine 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Francine Blau & Patricia Simpson & Deborah Anderson, 1998. "Continuing Progress? Trends in Occupational Segregation in the United States over the 1970s and 1980s," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 29-71.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:4:y:1998:i:3:p:29-71
    DOI: 10.1080/135457098338301
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    Cited by:

    1. Frijters, Paul, 2001. "Interpretation problems with changes in indices based on categorizations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 375-379, September.
    2. Juan D. Barón & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2010. "Occupational Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap in Private- and Public-Sector Employment: A Distributional Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(273), pages 227-246, June.
    3. Dolado, Juan J. & Felgueroso, Florentino & Almunia, Miguel, 2005. "Do Men and Women-Economists Choose the Same Research Fields? Evidence from Top-50 Departments," IZA Discussion Papers 1859, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2013. "Gender Matching And Competitiveness: Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 816-835, January.
    5. Michel Alexandre da Silva, 2011. "Endogenouscategorization and neighborhood effects," Anais do XXXVII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 37th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 213, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    6. Mal'tseva Inna, 2005. "Gender differences in occupational mobility and segregation at the labor market: The case of Russian economy," EERC Working Paper Series 05-11e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    7. Dolado, J. J. & Felgueroso, F. & Jimeno, J. F., 2001. "Female employment and occupational changes in the 1990s: How is the EU performing relative to the US?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 875-889, May.
    8. Nicole M. Fortin & Michael Huberman, 2002. "Occupational Gender Segregation and Women's Wages in Canada: An Historical Perspective," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 28(s1), pages 11-39, May.
    9. Marie-Claire Villeval & Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior - Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 0512, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    10. Štìpán Jurajda & Michal Franta, 2007. "Occupational Gender Segregation in the Czech Republic (in English)," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 57(5-6), pages 255-271, August.
    11. 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 471-492, April.
    12. Ariane Hegewisch & Hannah Liepmann, 2013. "Occupational segregation and the gender wage gap in the US," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 13, pages 200-217 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Juan J. Dolado & Florentino Felgueroso & Juan F. Jimeno., "undated". "Recent Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender: A Look Across the Atlantic," Working Papers 2002-11, FEDEA.
    14. John Robst & Jennifer VanGilder, 2011. "The role of childhood sexual victimization in the occupational choice of adults," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 341-354.
    15. Juan Dolado & Florentino Felgueroso & Miguel Almunia, 2012. "Are men and women-economists evenly distributed across research fields? Some new empirical evidence," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 367-393, September.
    16. Cortes, Patricia & Pan, Jessica, 2017. "Occupation and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 10672, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Anders Poulsen & Marie Claire Villeval, 2005. "Male and Female Competitive Behavior: Experimental," Post-Print halshs-00175039, HAL.
    18. Inmaculada García-Mainar & Guillermo García-Martín & Víctor Montuenga, 2015. "Over-education and Gender Occupational Differences in Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 807-833, December.
    19. 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.
    20. Aysegul Sahin & Stefania Albanesi, 2013. "Jobless Recoveries and Gender Biased Technological Change," 2013 Meeting Papers 985, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Christian Bredemeier & Falko Juessen, 2013. "Assortative Mating and Female Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(3), pages 603-631.
    22. Alexandre, Michel, 2011. "Endogenous categorization and group inequality," MPRA Paper 33239, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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