Non-College Occupations, Workplace Routinization, and the Gender Gap in College Enrollment
Amanda Chuan and
Cambridge Working Papers in Economics from Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge
Women used to lag behind men in college enrollment but now exceed them. We argue that changes in non-college job prospects contributed to these trends. We first document that routine-biased technical change disproportionately displaced non-college occupations held by women. We next employ a shift-share instrument for the impact of routinization to show that declining non-college job prospects for women increased female enrollment. Results show that a one percentage point decline in the share of routine task intensive jobs leads to a 0.6 percentage point rise in female college enrollment, while the effect for male enrollment is directionally smaller and insignificant. We next embed this instrumental variation into a dynamic model that links education and occupation choices. The model finds that routinization decreased returns to non-college occupations for women, leading them to shift to cognitive work and increasing their college premium. In contrast, non-college occupations for men were less susceptible to routinization. Altogether, our model estimates that workplace routinization accounted for 63% of the growth in female enrollment and 23% of the change in male enrollment between 1980 to 2000.
Keywords: human capital; college enrollment; gender; occupations; automation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 I24 I26 J16 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-gen, nep-hrm and nep-lab
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cam:camdae:2177
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