essay 3 Econ 356

Submitted By jebus1
Words: 708
Pages: 3

December 1, 2011
Econ 356, Prof. Carlson

Essay Number Three

After reading the two articles it is clear to me that Claudia Goldin is at the forefront of research on the economic role of women in the 20th century. Specifically, she addresses the topic of the growing participation rate of women in both the labor force and college attendance. There are a plethora of factors that contribute to these rising membership rates and it is evident that women have gone so far as to not only close the gender gap, but have even started to reverse it. What differentiates Goldin’s research from that of her peers is the way she accounts for the life-cycle change of women over time. She argues that, “The increased role of single women in the labor force prior to 1940, influenced the labor force patterns of these women at other points in their life cycles” (Goldin, 711). By simply looking at the age of women at one point in time you will miss this important shift in the pattern of labor participation at different ages. A women’s past greatly influences her future decisions and Goldin’s research model goes to great lengths to capture this occurrence, “the data on the schooling, market work, and home work of post-adolescent daughters have suggested that experiences early in the life cycle of women may have greatly affected their market involvement when older” (Goldin, 721). Goldin has also observed another trend during her research that is equally important with regards to the shift in birth cohorts over time. She has documented an overall rising trend in the labor force participation of women and a closing of the gender gap that existed during the early half of the 20th century, “the actual labor force experience of these cohorts of women has universally consisted of increasing labor force participation rates until about age fifty-five” (Goldin, 715). Another interesting development with regards to women is their increasing participation not only in the labor force but in college as well. During the period after World War II there was a large gender gap in college attendance rates where men greatly outnumbered women, “a highpoint of gender imbalance in college attendance was reached in 1947 when undergraduate men outnumbered women 2.3 to 1” (Goldin et. al., 133). Since that time the gap has been closing and today women have actually leapfrogged over men, “Rather than stopping at equality in 1980, women’s greater rate of increase continued. In 2003, there were 1.35 females for every male who graduated from a four-year college” (Goldin et. al., 134). There are copious reasons for this reversal in the gender gap including such varied occurrences as the rise of feminist ideology…