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The Long Road to the Fast Track: Career and Family


  • Goldin, Claudia


The career and family outcomes of college graduate women suggest that the twentieth century contained five distinct cohorts. The first cohort, graduating college from 1900 to 1920, had either "family or career." The second, graduating from 1920 to 1945, had "job then family." The third cohort, the college graduate mothers of the baby boom, graduated from 1946 to the mid1960s and had "family then job." Among the fourth cohort, graduating college from the late 1960s to 1980 and whose stated goal was "career then family," 13 to 18 percent achieved both by age forty. The objective of the fifth cohort, graduating from around 1980 to 1990, has been "career and family," and 21 to 28 percent have realized that goal by age forty. The author traces the demographic and labor force experiences of these five cohorts of college graduates and discusses why "career and family" outcomes changed over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Goldin, Claudia, 2004. "The Long Road to the Fast Track: Career and Family," Scholarly Articles 2920116, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:2920116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Claudia Goldin, 1992. "The Meaning of College in the Lives of American Women: The Past One-Hundred Years," NBER Working Papers 4099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy


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