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Author: Cox, Amy Gabrielle
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1. Cox, Amy Gabrielle
Demand For Labor And The Dynamics Of Women's Poverty In The United States
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Maryland College Park, 1997
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Census of Population; Ethnic Differences; Family Background; Family Characteristics; Gender Differences; Labor Economics; Racial Differences; Schooling, Post-secondary; Welfare; Women's Studies

Recent welfare reform assumes that the number of jobs is adequate to keep women employed and out of poverty. Focusing on the quantity of jobs, I ask whether women who live in areas with high labor demand are less likely to fall into and more likely to climb out of poverty than women who live in areas with lower demand.

I answer this question with an analysis that links macro- and micro-level data to assess the effect of labor demand on women's movement into and out of poverty. Labor markets are highly segregated, and general measures of labor demand tend to obscure differential demands for specific race-gender groups. I create an annual measure of labor demand by standardizing the occupational distributions of counties by the national gender and racial-ethnic compositions of individual occupations. I use event history techniques and data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979-1994, and the U.S. Census, 1980 and 1990, to conduct the analysis.

Comparing women by race-ethnicity, I demonstrate the prevalence of poverty entrance and exit among women aged 19 to 36 and the influence of local labor demand on changes in their poverty status. I find that the demand for labor affects women's movement into and out of poverty, although not always in expected directions nor for all women. In addition, labor demand influences women's poverty exit more than it influences their poverty entrance. These results maintain when controlling for family, individual, and background characteristics.

The findings shed light on factors that policy makers need to address to lower poverty among women. My focus on the demand for labor has special policy relevance in light of recent welfare reform, and I discuss implications of the results for research and public policy that relate to women's poverty.

Bibliography Citation
Cox, Amy Gabrielle. Demand For Labor And The Dynamics Of Women's Poverty In The United States. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Maryland College Park, 1997.