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The joint effect of ethnicity and gender on occupational segregation : an approach based on the Mutual Information Index


  • Guinea-Martin, Daniel
  • Mora, Ricardo
  • Ruiz-Castillo, Javier


This article studies the effects of gender and ethnicity on occupational segregation. The traditional approach to this topic measures the two sources of segregation separately. In contrast, we measure the joint effect of gender and ethnicity by applying a multigroup segregation index–the Mutual Information or M index–to the product of the two genders and seven ethnic groups distinguished in our census data for England and Wales in 2001. We exploit M's strong group decomposability property to consistently pose the following two questions: (i) How much does each source contribute to occupational segregation, controlling for the effect of the other? (ii) Is the combined impact of gender and ethnicity greater than, equal to, or smaller than the sum of their individual effects? The main empirical findings are the following two. First, we confirm previous results showing the greater importance of gender over ethnicity as a source of occupational segregation. However, we find that ethnicity contributes 13.5 percent of overall segregation in geographical areas where minorities concentrate. Second, contrary to intersectionality theories, we find that there is a small, “dwindling” interaction effect between the two sources of segregation: ethnicity slightly weakens the segregative power of gender, and vice versa.

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  • Guinea-Martin, Daniel & Mora, Ricardo & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier, 2012. "The joint effect of ethnicity and gender on occupational segregation : an approach based on the Mutual Information Index," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1140, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1140

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frankel, David M. & Volij, Oscar, 2011. "Measuring school segregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 1-38, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Ricardo Mora & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2003. "Additively Decomposable Segregation Indexes. The Case of Gender Segregation by Occupations and Human Capital Levels in Spain," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(2), pages 147-179, August.
    4. Borghans, Lex & Groot, Loek, 1999. "Educational presorting and occupational segregation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 375-395, September.
    5. Vincent P. Miller & John M. Quigley, 1990. "Segregation by Racial and Demographic Group: Evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 27(1), pages 3-21, February.
    6. John Logan & Brian Stults & Reynolds Farley, 2004. "Segregation of minorities in the metropolis: two decades of change," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(1), pages 1-22, February.
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