Non-College Occupations, Workplace Routinization, and the Gender Gap in College Enrollment

65 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2023 Last revised: 23 May 2023

See all articles by Amanda Chuan

Amanda Chuan

Michigan State University

Weilong Zhang

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics

Abstract

This paper explores how non-college occupations contributed to the gender gap in college enrollment, where women overtook men in college-going. Using instrumental variation from routinization, we show that the decline of routine-intensive occupations displaced the non-college occupations of women, raising female enrollment. Embedding this instrumental variation into a dynamic Roy model, we find that routinization decreased returns to the non-college occupations of women, increasing their college premium. In contrast, men's non-college occupations were less susceptible to routinization. Our model estimates that workplace routinization accounted for 44% of the growth in female enrollment during 1980-2000.

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

JEL Classification: I23, I24, I26, J16, J24, J23

Suggested Citation

Chuan, Amanda and Zhang, Weilong, Non-College Occupations, Workplace Routinization, and the Gender Gap in College Enrollment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 16089, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4429778 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4429778

Amanda Chuan (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Weilong Zhang

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge, CB3 9DD
United Kingdom

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