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College Majors, Occupations, and the Gender Wage Gap

College Majors, Occupations, and the Gender Wage Gap AbstractThe paper assesses gender differences in pre-labor market specialization among the college-educated and highlights how those differences have evolved over time. Women choose majors with lower potential earnings (based on male wages associated with those majors) and subsequently sort into occupations with lower potential earnings given their major choice. These differences have narrowed over time, but recent cohorts of women still choose majors and occupations with lower potential earnings. Differences in undergraduate major choice explain a substantive portion of gender wage gaps for the college-educated above and beyond simply controlling for occupation. Collectively, our results highlight the importance of understanding gender differences in the mapping between college major and occupational sorting when studying the evolution of gender differences in labor market outcomes over time. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Economic Perspectives American Economic Association

College Majors, Occupations, and the Gender Wage Gap

College Majors, Occupations, and the Gender Wage Gap

Journal of Economic Perspectives , Volume 35 (4) – Nov 1, 2021

Abstract

AbstractThe paper assesses gender differences in pre-labor market specialization among the college-educated and highlights how those differences have evolved over time. Women choose majors with lower potential earnings (based on male wages associated with those majors) and subsequently sort into occupations with lower potential earnings given their major choice. These differences have narrowed over time, but recent cohorts of women still choose majors and occupations with lower potential earnings. Differences in undergraduate major choice explain a substantive portion of gender wage gaps for the college-educated above and beyond simply controlling for occupation. Collectively, our results highlight the importance of understanding gender differences in the mapping between college major and occupational sorting when studying the evolution of gender differences in labor market outcomes over time.

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2021 © American Economic Association
ISSN
0895-3309
DOI
10.1257/jep.35.4.223
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe paper assesses gender differences in pre-labor market specialization among the college-educated and highlights how those differences have evolved over time. Women choose majors with lower potential earnings (based on male wages associated with those majors) and subsequently sort into occupations with lower potential earnings given their major choice. These differences have narrowed over time, but recent cohorts of women still choose majors and occupations with lower potential earnings. Differences in undergraduate major choice explain a substantive portion of gender wage gaps for the college-educated above and beyond simply controlling for occupation. Collectively, our results highlight the importance of understanding gender differences in the mapping between college major and occupational sorting when studying the evolution of gender differences in labor market outcomes over time.

Journal

Journal of Economic PerspectivesAmerican Economic Association

Published: Nov 1, 2021

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