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The Long Road to the Fast Track: Career and Family

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  • Claudia Goldin

Abstract

The career and family outcomes of college graduate women suggest that the twentieth century contained five distinct cohorts.' Each cohort made choices concerning career and family subject to different constraints. The first cohort, graduating college from the beginning of the twentieth century to the close of World War I, had either family or career.' The second, graduating college from around 1920 to the end of World War II, had job then family.' The third cohort the college graduate mothers of the baby boom' graduated college from around 1946 to the mid-1960s and had family then job.' The fourth cohort graduated college from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Using the NLS Young Women I demonstrate that 13 to 18 percent achieved career then family' by age 40. The objective of the fifth cohort, graduating from around 1980 to 1990, has been career and family,' and 21 to 28 percent (using the NLS Youth) have realized that goal by age 40. I trace the demographic and labor force experiences of these five cohorts of college graduates and discuss why career and family' outcomes changed over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Goldin, 2004. "The Long Road to the Fast Track: Career and Family," NBER Working Papers 10331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10331 Note: DAE LS
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    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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