Occupational mobility of American women: Compositional and structural changes, 1980-2007

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In this paper, I document trends in women's occupational mobility between 1980 and 2007 in the U.S labor market, and link these trends to two distinct sources: compositional and structural changes. In this context, compositional changes refers to the over time trends in the distributions of men and women in the occupational wage hierarchy, while structural changes are the trends in the relative standing of occupations in the wage hierarchy over time. The findings provide empirical evidence for both processes, indicating that the impressive upward occupational mobility of American women is a consequence not only of their increased access to highly paid occupations, but also of the higher wage increments in their typical occupational profiles relative to men's-a structural change not often acknowledged by sociologists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Compositional changes
  • Gender inequality
  • Occupational mobility
  • Structural changes
  • Wage structure


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