Will This Get Me a Job? Gender, Employment and College Attainment, Before and After the Mancession.
36 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2017
Date Written: November 25, 2017
Between 1981 and 2008, US college attainment rates rose faster for young women than men. However, after the 2008 “Mancession,” male attainment rose faster than female attainment. The most widely supported explanations for women’s domination of the pre-2008 college expansion (improved contraceptive and household technologies, no-fault divorce laws, and young women’s greater college readiness), do not readily explain the post-2008 reversal in gendered attainment trends. We show, in a variety of ways, that sharp differences in female and male employment trends before and after 2008 offer a plausible account for the post-2008 reversal of gendered attainment trends. Pre-2008, a rapid increase in the representation of women in high wage occupations increased the incentive for women to go to college. Post-2008, this trend disappeared, and men, driven by receding opportunities in traditionally male sectors, were incentivized to go to college seeking access to service jobs, especially those whose wages are institutionally shielded from labor market competition. These results indicate some convergences in the ways that men and women capitalize on their college educations in the labor market.
Keywords: Women, Men, College Premium, College Attainment, Employment, Occupation
JEL Classification: J21, J16, I21, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation