Career Dynamics Over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Analyses of U.S. Firms and Households

Awarded Scholars:
Sari Kerr, Wellesley College
Claudia Olivetti, Boston University
Claudia Goldin, Harvard University
Project Date:
Dec 2018
Award Amount:

Despite decades of progress for women, a significant gender earnings gap of 20% on average in the U.S. still exists. The gender earnings gap changes across the life cycle, starting low after education is completed and widening with family formation, particularly for those with more education. Recent research documents that the earnings gap narrows after cohorts are in their late 40s, with women born since the mid-1950s more likely to remain in the labor force into their 60s and even in their 70s. Until now, the ability to explore the interacting roles of household-, employer- and employee-level variables has been limited by the lack of access to detailed data for a large sample, over a long enough period to cover the experience of earlier and more recent cohorts of women.

Economists Sari Kerr, Claudia Goldin and Claudia Olivetti will study the effects of marriage, children and geographic mobility on earnings and employment gaps between men and women by assembling a large longitudinal dataset that allows them to follow couples and individuals across critical events including marriage, childbirth, geographic relocation, and employer changes.


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