Non-College Occupations, Workplace Routinization, and Female College Enrollment

76 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2021 Last revised: 23 Jan 2024

See all articles by Amanda Chuan

Amanda Chuan

Michigan State University - College of Social Science; University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Weilong Zhang

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: January 22, 2024

Abstract

We evaluate the impact of routinization from 1960 to 2000 on college enrollment. Among non-college workers, routine occupations employed a substantial share of the female workforce, but this share plummeted from 1970 on. Using shift-share instruments, we show that routinization displaced women’s non-college occupations, raising female enrollment. Men’s non-college occupations were less vulnerable, leaving their enrollment rates largely unaffected. Embedding this instrumental variation into a Roy model explains the mechanisms behind these results. Gender differences in skill create a comparative advantage in manual work for non-college men, leaving women to sort into routine jobs, which were more vulnerable to routinization.

Keywords: human capital, college enrollment, gender, automation, routinization

JEL Classification: I23, I24, I26, J16, J24, I26

Suggested Citation

Chuan, Amanda and Zhang, Weilong, Non-College Occupations, Workplace Routinization, and Female College Enrollment (January 22, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3939225 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3939225

Amanda Chuan (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Social Science ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/amandachuan/home

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Weilong Zhang

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

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