Technological Change, Labor Supply and Gender Differences in Occupational Choice


Speaker:Elisa Keller, Durham University
Date: Friday 28 November 2014
Time: 16.15 - 17.45
Location: Bateman Lecture Theatre, Building One

Further details

This paper uses data on the task content of occupations to study the role of labor supply in occupational choice. In 1970, women work fewer hours than men and are much less likely to choose higher-skill occupations compared to men. By 2010, gender differences in work hours and occupational choice reduce significantly. I assess the quantitative importance of labor-saving investment-specific technological change in the production of household capital and skill-biased technological change in explaining occupational choice by gender. To this end, I embed Becker's classical notion of home production in a Roy model of occupational choice with two important features: (i) individuals accumulate skill while working, and (ii) occupations differ by the marginal product of skill. I use direct observations on the task content of occupations from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles to discipline the differences in the marginal product of skill across occupations. Proper accounting for the rise in labor supply of women reduces measured changes in discrimination and lessens the quantitative contribution of improved talent allocation to labor productivity growth.