, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 1749–1775 | Cite as

Gender-Based Occupational Segregation and Sex Differences in Sensory, Motor, and Spatial Aptitudes

  • Michael BakerEmail author
  • Kirsten Cornelson


Research on sex differences in humans documents gender differences in sensory, motor, and spatial aptitudes. These aptitudes, as captured by Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) codes, predict the occupational choices of men and women in the directions indicated by this research. We simulate that eliminating selection on these skills reduces the Duncan index of gender-based occupational segregation by 20 % to 23 % in 1970 and 2012, respectively. Eliminating selection on DOT variables capturing other accounts of this segregation has a smaller impact.


Gender Occupational segregation Skill differences 



We gratefully acknowledge the research support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (#410-2011-0724) and a Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto. Fran Blau kindly provided the occupational crosswalk for the 2000 census occupational coding. We thank the referees for helpful comments as well as Dwayne Benjamin, Diane Halpern, and Gary Solon for their input on an early draft. We also thank seminar participants at UBC–Kelowna, UBC–Vancouver, and the WOLFE workshop at the University of York.

Supplementary material

13524_2018_706_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (183 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 183 kb)


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.National Bureau of Economic ResearchCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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