Occupation and Gender

29 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2017

See all articles by Patricia Cortes

Patricia Cortes

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS)


Occupational differences by gender remain a common feature of labor markets. We begin by documenting recent trends in occupational segregation and its implications. We then review recent empirical research, focusing on new classes of explanations that emphasize the role of gender differences in psychological traits, preferences for non-pecuniary (family-friendly) job characteristics, personality traits, and skills. Using detailed data on occupational work content from O*NET linked to the American Community Survey (ACS), we examine how the various job attributes identified in the literature affect men and women's occupational choices and the gender wage gap. Finally, we consider the role of gender identity and social norms in shaping occupational choice and preferences for various job attributes. We conclude with policy implications and suggestions for future research.

Keywords: gender, occupation, segregation, gender preferences, family-friendly, psychological traits, personality traits, identity

JEL Classification: J16, J24

Suggested Citation

Cortes, Patricia and Pan, Jessica, Occupation and Gender. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10672, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2949108

Patricia Cortes (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Jessica Pan

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228

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