The Changing Impact of Fathers on Women's Occupational Choices

Judith Hellerstein, University of Maryland
Melinda Sandler, University of Maryland

Over the past century, women have experienced a dramatic growth in labor force participation. We hypothesize that the increase in the overall probability of a daughter working has led to an increase in job-specific human capital investment from fathers to daughters. We use the occupation of the woman's father-in-law as a counterfactual to what would have occurred if no job-specific human capital was transmitted. Because of assortative mating, fathers and fathers-in-law will "look alike", however fathers-in-law will make no job-specific human capital investments. Our paper tracks the relative odds ratio of a married, white woman being in the same occupation as her father relative to her father-in-law and find that one quarter of the increased odds of a woman going into the occupation of her father can be explained by an increase in intergenerational job-specific human capital investment.

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Presented in Session 108: Intergenerational Wealth Transmission