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Does Rosie like riveting? Male and female occupational choices

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  • Lordan, Grace
  • Pischke, Jörn-Steffen

Abstract

Occupational segregation and pay gaps by gender remain large while many of the constraints traditionally believed to be responsible for these gaps have weakened over time. Here, we explore the possibility that women and men have different tastes for the content of the work they do. We run regressions of job satisfaction on the share of males in an occupation. Overall, there is a strong negative relationship between female satisfaction and the share of males. This relationship is fairly stable across different specifications and contexts, and the magnitude of the association is not attenuated by personal characteristics or other occupation averages. Notably, the effect is muted for women but largely unchanged for men when we include three measures that proxy the content and context of the work in an occupation, which we label ‘people,’ ‘brains,’ and ‘brawn.’ These results suggest that women may care more about job content, and this is a possible factor preventing them from entering some male dominated professions. We continue to find a strong negative relationship between female satisfaction and the occupation level share of males in a separate analysis that includes share of males in the firm. This suggests that we are not just picking up differences in the work environment, although these seem to play an independent and important role as well.

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  • Lordan, Grace & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2016. "Does Rosie like riveting? Male and female occupational choices," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67682, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:67682
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    2. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2016. "Preference for the Workplace, Human Capital, and Gender," NBER Working Papers 22173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Grace Lordan, 2019. "People versus machines in the UK: Minimum wages, labor reallocation and automatable jobs," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(12), pages 1-16, December.
    4. Kuhn, Andreas & Wolter, Stefan C., 2020. "Things versus People: Gender Differences in Vocational Interests and in Occupational Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 13380, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Martin Gonzalez-Rozada & Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 2018. "Do women ask for lower salaries? The supply side of the gender pay gap," Department of Economics Working Papers 2018_02, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    6. Andreas Kuhn & Stefan C. Wolter, 2018. "The Strength of Gender Norms and Gender-Stereotypical Occupational Aspirations Among Adolescents," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0151, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    7. Martin Gonzalez-Rozada & Eduardo Levy Yeyati, 2018. "Do women ask for lower salaries? The supply side of the gender pay gap," Department of Economics Working Papers 2018_02, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella.
    8. Lordan, Grace & Neumark, David, 2018. "People versus machines: The impact of minimum wages on automatable jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 40-53.
    9. Cortes, Patricia & Pan, Jessica, 2017. "Occupation and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 10672, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Lordan, Grace & Neumark, David, 2017. "People versus machines: the impact of minimum wages on automatable," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 84060, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Nikolaos Theodoropoulos & John Forth & Alex Bryson, 2019. "Are Women Doing It For Themselves? Gender Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap," DoQSS Working Papers 19-07, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    12. Lordan, Grace & Mcguire, Alistair, 2019. "Widening the high school curriculum to include soft skill training: impacts on health, behaviour, emotional wellbeing and occupational aspirations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 101234, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Valerie K. Bostwick & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2022. "Nevertheless She Persisted? Gender Peer Effects in Doctoral STEM Programs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 397-436.
    14. Josep Amer-Mestre and Agnès Charpin, 2022. "Gender Differences in Early Occupational Choices: Evidence from Medical Specialty Selection," Economics Working Papers EUI ECO 2022/01, European University Institute.
    15. Thelwall, Mike & Bailey, Carol & Tobin, Catherine & Bradshaw, Noel-Ann, 2019. "Gender differences in research areas, methods and topics: Can people and thing orientations explain the results?," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 149-169.
    16. Shulamit Kahn & Donna Ginther, 2017. "Women and STEM," NBER Working Papers 23525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Matthew Wiswall & Basit Zafar, 2018. "Preference for the Workplace, Investment in Human Capital, and Gender," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(1), pages 457-507.
    18. Delfino, Alexia, 2021. "Breaking Gender Barriers: Experimental Evidence on Men in Pink-Collar Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 14083, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Tsou, Meng-Wen & Yang, Chih-Hai, 2019. "Does gender structure affect firm productivity? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 19-36.
    20. Lekfuangfu, Warn N. & Lordan, Grace, 2018. "Cross Cohort Evidence on Gendered Sorting Patterns in the UK: The Importance of Societal Movements versus Childhood Variables," IZA Discussion Papers 11872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    occupational choice; job content; gender; preferences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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