Sexually-Integrated Workplaces and Divorce: Another Form of On-the-Job Search

University of Colorado Working Paper Series No. 03-18

35 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2003

See all articles by Terra McKinnish

Terra McKinnish

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2003

Abstract

As women have entered the work force and occupational sex-segregation has declined, workers experience increased contact with the opposite sex on the job. Because this contact lowers the cost of search for alternative mates, the sex-mix a worker encounters on the job should affect the probability of divorce. This paper uses 1990 Census data to calculate the fraction of workers that are female by industry, occupation and industry-occupation cell. These results are then used to predict divorce among ever-married respondents in the 1990 Census. Two separate strategies are employed to address endogenous occupation and industry choice. In the first, sex-mix measures are calculated at the state level so that industry and occupation fixed-effects can be included in the regression. In the second, the sex-mix a worker faces on the job is instrumented with the industry and occupation composition of employment in the worker's local area. The results indicate that those who work with a larger fraction of workers of the opposite sex are more likely to be divorced.

Keywords: divorce, occupation, segregation, workplace, sex-integration

JEL Classification: J12

Suggested Citation

McKinnish, Terra, Sexually-Integrated Workplaces and Divorce: Another Form of On-the-Job Search (November 2003). University of Colorado Working Paper Series No. 03-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=470181 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.470181

Terra McKinnish (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309-0256
United States

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