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Do Non-cognitive Skills Help Explain the Occupational Segregation of Young People?

Author

Listed:
  • Heather Antecol

    (The Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

  • Deborah Cobb-Clark

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne; and Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA))

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of non-cognitive skills in the occupational segregation of young workers entering the U.S. labor market. We find entry into male-dominated fields of study and male-dominated occupations are both related to the extent to which individuals believe they are intelligent and have “male” traits while entry into male-dominated occupations is also related to the willingness to work hard, impulsivity, and the tendency to avoid problems. The nature of these relationships differs for men and women, however. Noncognitive skills (intelligence and impulsivity) also influence movement into higher-paid occupations, but in ways that are similar for men and women. On balance, non-cognitive skills provide an important, though incomplete, explanation for segregation in the fields that young men and women study as well as in the occupations in which they are employed.

Suggested Citation

  • Heather Antecol & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2010. "Do Non-cognitive Skills Help Explain the Occupational Segregation of Young People?," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2010n13, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2010n13
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    File URL: http://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2010n13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
    5. Brown, Sarah & Fry, Tim R.L. & Harris, Mark N., 2008. "Untangling supply and demand in occupational choice," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 414-417, May.
    6. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    7. Montmarquette, Claude & Cannings, Kathy & Mahseredjian, Sophie, 2002. "How do young people choose college majors?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 543-556, December.
    8. Lex Borghans & Bas ter Weel & Bruce A. Weinberg, 2008. "Interpersonal Styles and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
    9. Boudarbat, Brahim & Montmarquette, Claude, 2007. "Choice of Fields of Study of Canadian University Graduates: The Role of Gender and their Parents’ Education," IZA Discussion Papers 2552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Rosenbloom, Joshua L. & Ash, Ronald A. & Dupont, Brandon & Coder, LeAnne, 2008. "Why are there so few women in information technology? Assessing the role of personality in career choices," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 543-554, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bodo Knoll & Nadine Riedel & Eva Schlenker, 2017. "He's a Chip Off the Old Block — The Persistence of Occupational Choices Across Generations," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 31(2), pages 174-203, June.
    2. Thiel, Hendrik & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2013. "Noncognitive skills in economics: Models, measurement, and empirical evidence," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 189-214.
    3. Humphries, John Eric & Kosse, Fabian, 2017. "On the interpretation of non-cognitive skills – What is being measured and why it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 174-185.
    4. Viinikainen, Jutta & Kokko, Katja, 2012. "Personality traits and unemployment: Evidence from longitudinal data," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1204-1222.
    5. Conti, Gabriella & Frühwirth-Schnatter, Sylvia & Heckman, James J. & Piatek, Rémi, 2014. "Bayesian exploratory factor analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 183(1), pages 31-57.
    6. By Tyas Prevoo & Bas ter Weel, 2015. "The importance of early conscientiousness for socio-economic outcomes: evidence from the British Cohort Study," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(4), pages 918-948.
    7. Bodo Knoll & Nadine Riedel & Eva Schlenker, 2013. "He's a Chip Off the Old Block: The Persistency of Occupational Choices among Generations," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 561, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    non-cognitive skills; occupation; youth; gender;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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