Sex and Mobility in the Dual Economy: From entry to midcareer

Frank M. Howell, William A. Reese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Recent work using a dual-economy approach to labor markets has documented heterogeneities in descriptive profiles of workers and returns to human capital by core-periphery sector of the economy. However, an important need that has gone relatively uninformed is an understanding of movement across sectors of the economy as a dimension of individual careers. This study explores how sex is related to core-periphery placement and mobility from labor force entry to almost midcareer. The results support the existing literature that suggests women enter the labor force in peripheral industries. Moreover, not only are women more likely to work in the periphery during this important initial phase of their careers but they are twice as likely to be located there at midcareer regardless of where they began. Further analysis of the intersectoral mobility process shows that many human capital variables do not serve as “sorting-and-selection” devices by the capitalistic economy but there are sex differences in the effects of these variables on the mobility process. Limitations and issues pertaining to future studies using both individualistic and structural approaches are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-96
Number of pages20
JournalWork and Occupations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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