The feminine sector: Explaining the overrepresentation of women in the nonprofit sector in the USA

  • Lee Y
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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that affect a person's choice to work in a specific sector to understand the overrepresentation of women in the nonprofit sector in the USA. Design/methodology/approach – This study views a sector choice of prime-age salaried workers as a three-way choice among for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors. One's choice of employment sector in this study depends on extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, and is also shaped by structural factors. These benefits, in turn, tend to be determined by individual characteristics. Consequently, this study estimated the endogenous switching regression of earnings and sector choice. Findings – Results from 2003 to 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) September supplement data indicate that the so-called “feminine” industries are concentrated in the nonprofit sector, and this gendered industry structure attributes to women's overrepresentation in the sector. The results also suggest that women with more education and experience may choose nonprofit jobs over jobs in the other sector while nonprofit employment is generally associated with negative wage differentials. Research limitations/implications – This study does not model employers’ behaviors while gender segregation and discriminatory hiring practices may have contributed to women's overrepresentation in the nonprofit sector due to the lack of employer-side information in CPS. Consequently, the estimation of sector choice without employer information is likely to suffer from an endogeneity problem. Practical implications – This study highlights the factors affecting the concentration of women in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit organizations may use the information to better understand their employees. Social implications – The findings suggest that women's sector choice is largely embedded in the industry structure of the nonprofit sector. Originality/value – This study examines a sector choice of prime-age salaried workers as a three way choice, instead of a binary choice, among for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors, which reflects the reality better. Further, this study contributes to the literature on nonprofit employment by testing the impact of nonprofit status on an individual's earnings. Lastly, this study contribute to understanding women's overrepresentation in the nonprofit sector by examining both the structural and utilitarian aspects of sector choice. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • Employment
  • Gender
  • Labour
  • Nonprofit

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Authors

  • Young Joo Lee

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