Automation and Gender: Implications for Occupational Segregation and the Gender Skill Gap


We examine the contribution of automation to occupational gender segregation and to the gender gap in college education. First, we document that women were more likely to be displaced by automation. Then, exploiting cross-commuting zone variation in the risk of automation, we show that women were much more likely than men to transition out of routine task intensive occupations to occupations requiring higher levels of skill, for a given shock in the risk of automation. Local labor markets that were more affected by automation experienced greater occupational integration by gender. Potential mechanisms are the growing demand for social skills that favor women and their greater ability to upskill. Consistent with these mechanisms, we find that local labor markets more susceptible to automation saw larger increases in the share of young women completing college relative to men and a greater movement of women into occupations with high math and high social skill requirements.

Working Paper
Nicolás Guida-Johnson
Nicolás Guida-Johnson
Assistant Professor

I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.