Women’s Gains (or Not) in Cumulative Earnings: Variations Across Cohorts, Race, and Education

Siwei Cheng , New York University (NYU)
Christopher R. Tamborini, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)

A key aspect to the improvements in women's economic positions at work over the pat half century is the age-graded shifts in women’s labor force participation. Beyond being an empirical pattern of interest, the life-cycle pattern of female employment raises an important methodological issue: most of what we know about women’s earnings trends is based on analysis of cross-sectional data, in which the earnings distribution reflects a “snapshot” of the working population. We in this paper argues that, an effective way to improve our empirical estimates of women’s labor market outcomes lies in the utilization of longitudinal data to construct measures of cumulative earnings over the life cycle. We take advantage of longitudinal administrative tax records linked to the SIPP surveys to examine the cohort trends in women's cumulative earnings, their variations by race and education, as well as how they are affected by changing labor force participation.

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 Presented in Session 48. Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Labor Markets