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Unexplained gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions

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Author Info

  • Elder, Todd E.
  • Goddeeris, John H.
  • Haider, Steven J.

Abstract

We analyze four methods to measure unexplained gaps in mean outcomes: three decompositions based on the seminal work of Oaxaca (1973) and Blinder (1973) and an approach involving a seemingly naïve regression that includes a group indicator variable. Our analysis yields two principal findings. We show that the coefficient on a group indicator variable from an OLS regression is an attractive approach for obtaining a single measure of the unexplained gap. We also show that a commonly-used pooling decomposition systematically overstates the contribution of observable characteristics to mean outcome differences when compared to OLS regression, therefore understating unexplained differences. We then provide three empirical examples that explore the practical importance of our analytic results.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 284-290

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:1:p:284-290

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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Keywords: Decompositions Discrimination;

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References

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  1. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
  2. Thomas DeLeire, 2001. "Changes in Wage Discrimination against People with Disabilities: 1984-93," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 144-158.
  3. Ben Jann, 2008. "The Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear regression models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(4), pages 453-479, December.
  4. Kostas G. Mavromaras & Helmut Rudolph, 1997. "Wage Discrimination in the Reemployment Process," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 812-860.
  5. Maury Gittleman & Edward N. Wolff, 2004. "Racial Differences in Patterns of Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(1).
  6. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
  7. Robert W. Fairlie & Alicia M. Robb, 2007. "Why Are Black-Owned Businesses Less Successful than White-Owned Businesses? The Role of Families, Inheritances, and Business Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 289-323.
  8. Kathryn Yount, 2008. "Gender, resources across the life course, and cognitive functioning in Egypt," Demography, Springer, vol. 45(4), pages 907-926, November.
  9. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  10. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-43, May.
  11. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  12. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  13. Leslie I. Boden & Monica Galizzi, 2003. "Income Losses of Women and Men Injured at Work," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
  14. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Housework and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 217-229.
  15. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  16. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
  17. Roland G. Fryer & Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 447-464, May.
  18. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Where the boys aren't: Non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," NBER Working Papers 8964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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