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Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 1970-2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System

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  • Francine D. Blau
  • Peter Brummund
  • Albert Yung-Hsu Liu

Abstract

In this paper, we develop a gender-specific crosswalk based on dual-coded Current Population Survey data to bridge the change in the Census occupational coding system that occurred in 2000 and use it to provide the first analysis of the trends in occupational segregation by sex for the 1970-2009 period based on a consistent set of occupational codes and data sources. We show that our gender-specific crosswalk more accurately captures the trends in occupational segregation that are masked using the aggregate crosswalk (based on combined male and female employment) provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Using the 2000 occupational codes, we find that segregation by sex declined over the period but at a diminished pace over the decades, falling by 6.1 percentage points over the 1970s, 4.3 percentage points over the 1980s, 2.1 percentage points over the 1990s, and only 1.1 percentage points (on a decadal basis) over the 2000s. A primary mechanism by which occupational segregation was reduced over the 1970-2009 period was through the entry of new cohorts of women, presumably better prepared than their predecessors and/or encountering less labor market discrimination; during the 1970s and 1980s, however, there were also decreases in occupational segregation within cohorts. Reductions in segregation were correlated with education, with the largest decrease among college graduates and very little change in segregation among high school dropouts.

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  • Francine D. Blau & Peter Brummund & Albert Yung-Hsu Liu, 2012. "Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 1970-2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System," NBER Working Papers 17993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17993
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
    2. Andrea H. Beller, 1985. "Changes in the Sex Composition of U. S. Occupations, 1960-1981," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(2), pages 235-250.
    3. Victor R. Fuchs, 1975. "A Note on Sex Segregation in Professional Occupations," NBER Chapters,in: Explorations in Economic Research, Volume 2, number 1, pages 105-111 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Francine Blau & Peter Brummund & Albert Liu, 2013. "Trends in Occupational Segregation by Gender 1970–2009: Adjusting for the Impact of Changes in the Occupational Coding System," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 471-492, April.
    5. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
    6. Barbara F. Reskin & Denise D. Bielby, 2005. "A Sociological Perspective on Gender and Career Outcomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 71-86, Winter.
    7. Francine Blau & Patricia Simpson & Deborah Anderson, 1998. "Continuing Progress? Trends in Occupational Segregation in the United States over the 1970s and 1980s," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 29-71.
    8. Jessica Pan, 2015. "Gender Segregation in Occupations: The Role of Tipping and Social Interactions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 365-408.
    9. Francine D. Blau & Wallace E. Hendricks, 1979. "Occupational Segregation by Sex: Trends and Prospects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(2), pages 197-210.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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