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

Terra McKinnish, University of Colorado at Boulder

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 the 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 and the NLSY79. Both fixed-effects and instrumental variables strategies are employed to address endogenous occupation and industry choice. The results indicate that those who work with a larger fraction of workers of the opposite sex are more likely to be divorced.

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Presented in Session 62: Union Dissolution