How Important Are Parental Occupations to the New Generation's Occupation Mobility?

42 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2017

See all articles by Ping Li

Ping Li

South China Normal University - College of Economics & Management

Frank P. Stafford

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 23, 2017

Abstract

The U.S. occupational composition is being shaped by changing output, production technology, and by social processes. Using micro panel data we compare the occupations of men and women age 30-55 as of 2013 to those reported to have been held by their parents when the now adult children were growing up. The study examines intergenerational migration inflows and outflows separately for both men and women. Consistent with trade patterns and unbalanced growth theory there are distinct patterns of both growing and of contracting occupations. Production occupations show a distinct employment decline across generations for both men and women with a shift of men to various occupations commonly held by men. Occupations such as management and related business occupations show a net increase across generations from a rising share of young workers relative to their parents. Based on a narrow definition of STEM workers we see an approximate threefold increase in the share of employment of both women and men with the implied preservation of men’s share of those occupations. On a wider definition we see both strong growth and an increase in the share of women. To capture a common metric for mobility and economic growth, occupational order is defined as the rank of the average wage paid to those working in each occupation. On this basis the occupational wage ranking of 30-55 year old women relative to men has risen to about .80. This appears to have been shaped in part by reduced barriers to occupations for women as well as self-exclusion by men from some newly expanding occupations.

Keywords: Occupational Choice, Unbalanced Growth, Intergenerational Mobility

JEL Classification: J2, J11, J16, O47

Suggested Citation

Li, Ping and Stafford, Frank P., How Important Are Parental Occupations to the New Generation's Occupation Mobility? (January 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2904299 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2904299

Ping Li

South China Normal University - College of Economics & Management

Guangzhou
China

Frank P. Stafford (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

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