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Business Cycles and Gender Diversification: An Analysis of Establishment-Level Gender Dissimilarity

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During recessions, the focus on male job losses may overshadow other important outcome variables. We examine the effects of economic downturns on occupational segregation by gender, using staffing data from over 6 million private-sector US establishments from 1966-2010. Consistent with the literature, we find a downward trend in occupational segregation that is diminishing over time. Drawing upon Rubery's (1988) work on women and recessions, we find support for both the buffer and the segmentation hypotheses. On net, however, the buffer hypothesis appears to dominate providing evidence that in periods of economic decline the trend of decreasing economic dissimilarity is interrupted.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-05-01

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