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Gender Gaps across Countries and Skills: Supply, Demand and the Industry Structure

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  • Claudia Olivetti

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Barbara Petrongolo

    ()
    (Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics)

Abstract

The gender wage gap varies widely across countries and across skill groups within countries. Interestingly, there is a positive cross-country correlation between the unskilled-to-skilled gender wage gap and the corresponding gap in hours worked. Based on a canonical supply and demand framework, this positive correlation would reveal the presence of net demand forces shaping gender differences in labor market outcomes across skills and countries. We use a simple multi-sector framework to illustrate how differences in labor demand for different inputs can be driven by both within-industry and between-industry factors. The main idea is that, if the service sector is more developed in the US than in continental Europe, and unskilled women tend to be over-represented in this sector, we expect unskilled women to suffer a relatively large wage and/or employment penalty in the latter than in the former. We find that, overall, the between-industry component of labor demand explains more than half of the total variation in labor demand between the US and the majority of countries in our sample, as well as one-third of the correlation between wage and hours gaps. The between-industry component is relatively more important in countries where the relative demand for unskilled females is lowest.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-043.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-043

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  1. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Black, Sandra E. & Spitz-Oener, Alexandra, 2007. "Explaining Women’s Success: Technological Change and the Skill Content of Women’s Work," IZA Discussion Papers 2803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. William Nickell, 2006. "The CEP-OECD Institutions Data Set (1960-2004)," CEP Discussion Papers dp0759, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2005. "Unequal pay or unequal employment? A cross-country analysis of gender gaps," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-008, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The U.S. gender pay gap in the 1990s: slowing convergence," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 45-66, October.
  7. Rachel Ngai & Christopher Pissarides, 2006. "Trends in Hours and Economic Growth," 2006 Meeting Papers 56, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  11. Autor, David & Dorn, David, 2009. "Inequality and Specialization: The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 4290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Ngai, Liwa Rachel & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Taxes, Social Subsidies and the Allocation of Work Time," CEPR Discussion Papers 8328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Richard B. Freeman & David A. Wise, 1982. "The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 1-16 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Lewis, Philip E T, 1985. "Substitution between Young and Adult Workers in Australia," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(44), pages 115-26, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Fabio Mariani, 2012. "The economic value of virtue," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 323-356, December.
  2. Claudia Olivetti, 2013. "The Female Labor Force and Long-run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital in History: The American Record National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2013. "Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp1204, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2013. "Gender gaps and the rise of the service economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51538, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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