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Labor supply and gender differences in occupational choice

Elisa Keller

European Economic Review, 2019, vol. 115, issue C, 221-241

Abstract: This paper uses data on the task content of occupations to study the role of labor supply in occupational choice. In 1970, married women were less likely to choose occupations characterized by analytically intensive tasks than were men. By 2010, gender differences in occupational choice had narrowed significantly. I use the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to measure the value of skill in an occupation and find an increase in this value with the analytical intensity of occupational tasks. I argue that, as a significant part of skill is accumulated on the job, sources that encourage women to commit to market work contributed to the gender convergence in occupational choice. A quantitative exercise measures that labor-saving technical change in the household sector, occupation-biased technical change in final good production, declining gender gaps in wages and schooling account for 58% of the gender convergence in occupational choice, via the labor supply channel.

Keywords: Occupational choice; Labor supply; Technological progress; Calibration (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 O40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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