Institute of Education


Does Rosie like riveting? Male and female occupational choices

27 November 2019, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Rosie the Riveter

In this seminar, Grace Lordan investigates the possibility that women and men have different tastes for the content of the work they do, as a factor that might contribute to occupational segregation and gender pay gaps.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Dingeman Wiertz


Room G02
UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
55-59 Gordon Square

Occupational segregation and gender pay gaps remain large while many constraints believed to be responsible for these gaps seem to have weakened over time. As a potential solution to this puzzle, Grace Lordan (together with Jörn-Steffen Pischke) explores the possibility that women and men have different tastes for the content of the work they do. 

Lordan and Pischke run regressions of job satisfaction and job mobility on measures that act as a proxy for the content of the work in an occupation, which they label ‘people,’ ‘brains,’ and ‘brawn.’ The results suggest that women value jobs that are relatively high on ‘people’ content and low on ‘brawn.’ Men care about job content in a similar fashion but seem to have much weaker preferences. 

Further analyses suggest that these findings do not just reflect differences in work environments. Moreover, the findings are supported by a discrete choice experiment with high school students, in which students’ hypothetical choices roughly mimic the actual behaviour of adults in the labour market. The majority of students report that they are choosing between jobs on the basis of preferences for the work itself rather than other factors.



About the Speaker

Grace Lordan

Associate Professor in Behavioural Science at London School of Economics (LSE)

Professor Lordan's research is at the intersection of behavioural economics, labour economics, and health economics.