The effects of early work experience on young women's labor force attachment

Sigal Alon*, Debra Donahoe, Marta Tienda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this article, we examine women's labor force experience during the early life course in order to assess the conditions conducive to the establishment of stable labor force careers. To represent the complexity of women's work trajectories during young adulthood, we develop a conceptual framework that depicts a broad range of work activity profiles. Empirical results obtained using the NLSY show that three aspects of early experience influence mature women's labor force attachment, namely the amount of experience accumulated; the timing of work experience; and the volatility of that experience. Above and beyond these experience measures, we also find that background factors influence adult women's attachment to the market. The conclusion discusses the policy implications of these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1005-1034
Number of pages30
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Office ofPopulation Research
National Science Foundation
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Princeton University
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentST32HD07163-20


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