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Sex Structure of Occupations and Job Mobility

Wendy C. Wolf and Rachel Rosenfeld
Social Forces
Vol. 56, No. 3 (Mar., 1978), pp. 823-844
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2577221
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2577221
Page Count: 22
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Sex Structure of Occupations and Job Mobility
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Abstract

Despite the differences in the mean levels of occupational attainments of men and women over the life cycle, men and employed women attain the same mean level of occupational attainment at mid-life and do so through quite similar processes. Although human capital theory is helpful in understanding differences in mean levels of occupational attainment over the life cycle for men and women, it cannot explain why women's occupational attainments are minimally affected (if at all) by labor force interruptions. To account for the above findings, we develop explanations concerning the effects of labor market structure on occupational achievement, derived from the literature on occupational segregation by sex and dual labor market theory. For this explanation to be useful, two propositions derived from it must be true: (1) female occupations are easier to reenter after labor force interruptions; and (2) female occupations tend not to be stepping stones upward in the occupational structure, at least for women. Using log-linear analysis, we test these propositions utilizing 1970 Census data.

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