Selection into occupations and the intergenerational mobility of daughters and sons

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This paper documents how gender differences in occupational status (defined by earnings, education, and returns to skills) have evolved over time and across generations. The paper finds a persistent gender earnings gap, a reversal of the education gap, and a convergence in starting salaries and returns to experience. Divergent occupational choices might explain part of the persistent gender gaps and women's failure to reach parity with men in the earnings distribution. Women choose more flexible jobs than men. But whereas men dominate women in high-powered occupations, they are also more likely to be in low-skilled low-pay occupations. Differential effects of children and time spent keeping house explain most of the gender gap in high-powered occupations but cannot explain fully why women choose more flexible occupations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-306
Number of pages46
JournalResearch in Labor Economics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Cccupational Choice
  • Gender gaps
  • Intergenerational mobility

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