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

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

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17993.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17993.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Publication status: published as 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, vol. 50(2), pages 471-492, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17993
Note: LS
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  1. 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, vol. 50(2), pages 471-492, April.
  2. Goldin, Claudia & Kuziemko, Ilyana & Katz, Lawrence, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Scholarly Articles 2962611, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2006. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 2180, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
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