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Evolution of Gender Differences in Occupational Mobility and Wages


  • Kerem Cosar

    (University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

  • Sekyu Choi

    (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)


The U.S. gender wage gap shrank steadily during the last quarter of the past century. Concurrently, the occupational composition of women converged to that of men as they left the home-sector, entered previously male dominated professional and managerial occupations, and started switching occupations as frequently as their male colleagues. Previous work has associated these gender-related labor market trends with either technological or institutional changes but did not decompose the outcomes in a unified general equilibrium setting. This paper attempts to do that. Our contribution is twofold. First, we structurally estimate gender-specific occupational entry and mobility cost parameters using Current Population Survey data. We find that the cost of switching to professional and managerial occupations relative to clerical occupations is 42% to 67% higher for women than it is for men. We also find a declining gap over time. Second, we simulate the estimated model to address the following question: what is the fraction of the reduced gender wage gap that can be attributed to the decreased mobility costs for women, and to shifts in the occupational wage structure?

Suggested Citation

  • Kerem Cosar & Sekyu Choi, 2011. "Evolution of Gender Differences in Occupational Mobility and Wages," 2011 Meeting Papers 574, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:574

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2004. "Engines of Liberation - Additional Notes," RCER Working Papers 506, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    2. Michelle Petersen Rendall, 2010. "Brain versus brawn: the realization of women's comparative advantage," IEW - Working Papers 491, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2017.
    3. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "Rising Occupational And Industry Mobility In The United States: 1968-97," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 41-79, February.
    4. Erhan Artuç & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2010. "Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: A Structural Empirical Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1008-1045, June.
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