IZA DP No. 5089: The Opt-Out Revolution: A Descriptive Analysis
Research in Labor Economics, 2011, 33, 45-83
Using data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 U.S. Census, I find little support for the opt-out revolution – highly educated women, relative to their less educated counterparts, are exiting the labor force to care for their families at higher rates today than in earlier time periods – if one focuses solely on the decision to work a positive number of hours irrespective of marital status or race. If one, however, focuses on both the decision to work a positive number of hours as well as the decision to adjust annual hours of work (conditional on working), I find some evidence of the opt-out revolution, particularly among white college educated married women in male dominated occupations.