First Sapere Aude working paper out

The paper “Early Career, Life-cycle Choices and Gender”, joint with Frederik Plesner Lyngse and Itzik Fadlon is now out as a NBER working paper.

We revisit the classic question of whether early labor market experiences determine longer-run life and career outcomes. Importantly, we ask whether they operate differentially for males and females. We study these questions in the context of the physician labor market by exploiting a randomized lottery that determines the sorting of Danish physicians into internships, where students with bad lottery numbers end up assigned to less desirable local labor markets and entry-level jobs.

We find causal effects of early-career labor market sorting on a range of life-cycle outcomes that cascade from longer-run labor market sorting, to human capital accumulation, to occupational choice, and even to fertility. Notably, we find that the persistent longer-run effects are entirely driven by females, whereas males experience only temporary career disruptions from unfavorable early-stage sorting.

Our findings have implications for policies aiming at outcome-based gender equality, as they reveal how persistent gaps can arise even in an institutionally gender-neutral setting with early-stage equality of opportunity.

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