Gender Convergence in the Labor Market: Volume 41

Cover of Gender Convergence in the Labor Market
Subject:

Table of contents

(16 chapters)
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Preface

Pages ix-xiii
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Abstract

The changes in women’s and men’s work lives have been considerable in recent decades. Yet much of the recent research on gender differences in employment and earnings has been of a more snapshot nature rather than taking a longer comparative look at evolving patterns. In this paper, we use 50 years (1964–2013) of US Census Annual Demographic Files (March Current Population Survey) to track the changing returns to human capital (measured as both educational attainment and potential work experience), estimating comparable earnings equations by gender at each point in time. We consider the effects of sample selection over time for both women and men and show the rising effect of selection for women in recent years. Returns to education diverge for women and men over this period in the selection-adjusted results but converge in the OLS results, while returns to potential experience converge in both sets of results. We also create annual calculations of synthetic lifetime labor force participation, hours, and earnings that indicate convergence by gender in worklife patterns, but less convergence in recent years in lifetime earnings. Thus, while some convergence has indeed occurred, the underlying mechanisms causing convergence differ for women and men, reflecting continued fundamental differences in women’s and men’s life experiences.

Abstract

This paper shows how a shorter fecundity horizon for females (a biological constraint) leads to age and educational disparities between husbands and wives. Empirical support is based on data from a natural experiment commencing before and ending after China’s 1980 one-child law. The results indicate that fertility in China declined by about 1.2–1.4 births per woman as a result of China’s anti-natalist policies. Concomitantly spousal age and educational differences narrowed by approximately 0.5–1.0 and 1.0–1.6 years, respectively. These decreases in the typical husband’s age and educational advantages are important in explaining the division of labor in the home, often given as a cause for the gender wage gap. Indeed, as fertility declined, which has been the historical trend in most developed countries, husband-wife age and educational differences diminished leading to less division of labor in the home and a smaller gender wage disparity. Unlike other models of division of labor in the home which rely on innately endogenous factors, this paper’s theory is based on an exogenous biological constraint.

Abstract

In this paper, we update and extend “Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?” (Albrecht, Björklund, & Vroman, 2003) by documenting the extent to which the gender log wage gap across the distribution in Sweden has changed over the period 1998–2008. We then examine the Swedish glass ceiling in 2008 in more detail by documenting how it differs for white-collar versus blue-collar workers and for private- versus public-sector workers. We also examine when in the life cycle the glass ceiling effect arises and how this effect develops around the birth of the first child. Finally, we investigate the possible connection between the glass ceiling and the parental leave system in Sweden by linking wage data with data on parental leave from different Swedish registers.

Abstract

This study investigates whether and when during the life cycle women fall behind in terms of career progression because of children. We use 1987–1997 Norwegian panel data that contain information on individuals’ position in their career hierarchy as well as a direct measure of their promotions. We measure overall promotions as increases in rank within the same establishment as well as in combination with an establishment change. Women with children are 1.6 percentage points less likely promoted than women without children; this is what we refer to as the family gap in climbing the career. We find that mothers tend to enter on lower ranks than non-mothers. Thirty-seven percent of the gap can be explained by rank fixed effects and human capital characteristics. A large part remains unexplained. Graphical analyses show that part of the difference already evolves during the early career. Part of this seems related to the relatively low starting ranks.

Abstract

Using micro data from CPS for the period 1995–2011 we investigate effects of Common Law Marriage (CLM) on labor outcomes and using the ATUS for the period 2003–2011 we study its effects on household production and leisure. Identification of CLM effects arises through cross-state variation and variation over time, as three states abolished CLM over the period examined in the CPS data. Labor supply effects of CLM availability are negative for married women: for instance, weekly hours of work are reduced by 1–2 hours. In addition, some CLM effects on married men’s labor supply are positive. Consequently, the abolition of CLM in some states helps explain the convergence of men and women’s labor supply. Negative CLM effects on married women’s labor supply are limited to white, Hispanic, college-educated women, and women with children. There is little evidence of effects of CLM on leisure and household production. A conceptual framework based on the concept of Work-In-Household, marriage market analysis, and the assumption of traditional gender roles helps explain gender differentials in the effects of CLM on labor supply and why these effects are larger for white and college-educated women.

Abstract

The prevalence and stability of marriage has declined in the United States as the economic lives of men and women have converged. Family change has not been uniform, however, and the widening gaps in marital status, relationship stability, and childbearing between socioeconomic groups raise concerns about child well-being in poor families and future inequality. This paper uses data from a recent cohort of young adults – Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health – to investigate whether disparities in cognitive ability and non-cognitive skills contribute to this gap. Blinder–Oaxaca decompositions of differences in key family outcomes across education groups show that, though individual non-cognitive traits are significantly associated with union status, relationship instability, and single motherhood, they collectively make no significant contribution to the explanation of educational gaps for almost all of these outcomes. Measured skills can explain as much as 25 percent of differences in these outcomes by family background (measured by mother’s education), but this effect disappears when own education is added to the model. Both cognitive and non-cognitive skills are strongly predictive of educational attainment but, conditional on education, explain very little of the socioeconomic gaps in family outcomes for young adults.

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.

Abstract

In this paper we provide estimates of the short-run elasticity of substitution between male and female workers, using data from Italian provinces for the period 1993–2006. Our identification strategy relies on a natural experiment. In 2000, the Italian Parliament passed a law to abolish compulsory military service. The reform was implemented through a gradual reduction in the number of draftees; compulsory drafting was eventually terminated in 2004. We use data on the (planned) maximum number of draftees at the national level (as stated in the annual budgetary law), interacted with sex-ratios at births at the provincial level, as instruments for (relative) female labor supply. Our results suggest that young males and females (who are those mainly affected by the reform) are imperfect substitutes, with an implied elasticity of substitution ranging between 1.0 and 1.4. Our results have important implications for the evaluation of policies aimed at increasing female labor market participation.

Abstract

We analyze the evolution of the gender wage gap in Mexico between 1989 and 2012, a period in which skill-biased technological change accelerated. We deviate from most prior work investigating the gap across the wage distribution. We find substantial gender wage convergence in the decade of the 2000s at the mean and, more markedly, at the upper and lower ends of the wage distribution, alongside little change in the median wage gap. The gender wage gap at the 90th percentile was largely eliminated by the year 2012 and, at the 10th percentile, it narrowed by a fourth of its 1990 level. This narrowing of gender inequality in wages occurred alongside a narrowing of inequality in wages within each gender group. The share of college-educated women relative to men in the work force grew substantially over the two decades, and they sorted disproportionately into brain-intensive occupations, where the gender wage gap fell sharply. The wage return to being in a brain-intensive occupation was, in both periods, greater for women; it declined for men while rising for women during the 2000s. Our findings demonstrate how structural economic change may interact with a biologically premised comparative advantage of women in brain-intensive occupations to raise their relative wages. Our results also underline the relevance of studying changes across the wage distribution.

Abstract

In this paper we use a large linked employer-employee data set on German establishments between 1993 and 2012 to investigate how the gender composition of the top layer of management affects a variety of establishment and worker outcomes. We use two different measures to identify the gender composition of the top layer based on direct survey data: the fraction of women among top managers, and the fraction of women among working proprietors. We document the following facts: (a) There is a strong negative association between the fraction of women in the top layer of management and several establishment outcomes, among them business volume, investment, total wage bill per worker, total employment, and turnover; (b) Establishments with a high fraction of women in the top layer of management are more likely to implement female-friendly policies, such as providing childcare facilities or promoting and mentoring female junior staff; (c) The fraction of women in the top layer of management is also negatively associated with employment and wages, both male and female, full-time and part-time. However, all of these associations vanish when we include establishment fixed effects and establishment-specific time trends. This reveals a substantial sorting of female managers across establishments: small and less productive establishments that invest less, pay their employees lower wages, but are more female-friendly are more likely to be led by women.

Cover of Gender Convergence in the Labor Market
DOI
10.1108/S0147-9121201541
Publication date
2015-01-29
Book series
Research in Labor Economics
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78441-456-6
eISBN
978-1-78441-455-9
Book series ISSN
0147-9121