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Who Cares – and Does it Matter? Measuring Wage Penalties for Caring Work

Helpful comments were received from Paula England, Meghan Skira, Aaron Sojourner, the editors, referees, and participants at the IZA Workshop and a Georgia State University seminar. Julia Manzella appreciates funding received from the Dan E. Sweat Dissertation Fellowship designed to support research addressing urban, community, or education policy issues.

aGeorgia State University and IZA
bGeorgia State University

Gender Convergence in the Labor Market

ISBN: 978-1-78441-456-6, eISBN: 978-1-78441-455-9

ISSN: 0147-9121

Publication date: 29 January 2015

Abstract

Economists and sociologists have proposed arguments for why there can exist wage penalties for work involving helping and caring for others, penalties borne disproportionately by women. Evidence on wage penalties is neither abundant nor compelling. We examine wage differentials associated with caring jobs using multiple years of Current Population Survey (CPS) earnings files matched to O*NET job descriptors that provide continuous measures of “assisting & caring” and “concern” for others across all occupations. This approach differs from prior studies that assume occupations either do or do not require a high level of caring. Cross-section and longitudinal analyses are used to examine wage differences associated with the level of caring, conditioned on worker, location, and job attributes. Wage level estimates suggest substantive caring penalties, particularly among men. Longitudinal estimates based on wage changes among job switchers indicate smaller wage penalties, our preferred estimate being a 2% wage penalty resulting from a one standard deviation increase in our caring index. We find little difference in caring wage gaps across the earnings distribution. Measuring mean levels of caring across the U.S. labor market over nearly thirty years, we find a steady upward trend, but overall changes are small and there is no evidence of convergence between women and men.

Keywords

Citation

Hirsch, B.T. and Manzella, J. (2015), "Who Cares – and Does it Matter? Measuring Wage Penalties for Caring Work

Helpful comments were received from Paula England, Meghan Skira, Aaron Sojourner, the editors, referees, and participants at the IZA Workshop and a Georgia State University seminar. Julia Manzella appreciates funding received from the Dan E. Sweat Dissertation Fellowship designed to support research addressing urban, community, or education policy issues.

", Gender Convergence in the Labor Market (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 41), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 213-275. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0147-912120140000041014

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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