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Joint Labor & Public Economics Workshop: Guo Xu

Monday, April 8, 2024 at 11:40am to 12:55pm

Ives Hall, 111
B07 Tower Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Guo Xu, Berkeley

Beyond the War: Public Service and the Transmission of Gender Norms

This paper combines personnel records of the U.S. federal government with census data to study how shocks to the gender composition of an organization can persistently shift the gender norms of its workers. We exploit city-by-department variation in the sudden expansion of female clerical employment driven by America’s entrance into World War I, and find that daughters of civil servants exposed to female co-workers are more likely to work later in life, command higher income, and have fewer children. The effects are driven by exposed fathers and daughters in their teenage years at the time of exposure. We also show that cities exposed to a larger increase in female federal workers saw persistently higher female labor force participation in the public sector, as well as modest increases in private sector labor force participation. Collectively, the results are thus consistent with both the vertical and horizontal transmission of gender norms, and highlight how increasing gender representation within an organization can have broader labor market implications.

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Event Type

Seminar, Class/ Workshop




economics, ILR, ILR School, EconSeminar, EconPublic, EconLabor

Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Robin Tilling


Guo Xu

Speaker Affiliation


Open To

Cornell Economics Community (Listserv Members)