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Are Female Workers Less Productive Than Male Workers?

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  • Petersen, Trond
  • Snartland, Vermund
  • Meyersson Milgrom, Eva M.
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    Abstract

    This paper addresses whether there are productivity differences between men and women among blue-collar workers. We compare the wages under piece- and time-rate contracts of men and women working in the same occupation in the same establishment in three countries: the U.S., Norway, and Sweden. The findings are summarized in four points. First, the gender wage gap is smaller under piece- than under time-rate work. According to the interpretation put forth here, two thirds of the gap at the occupation–establishment level is due to productivity differences, while one third is not “accounted forâ€, but could be due to discrimination or experience or other factors. Productivity differences between sexes in typically male-dominated blue-collar industries are however very small, of 1–3%: Sweden 1%, U.S. 2% and Norway 3%. Second, in age groups where women on average have extensive family obligations, the wage gap is larger than in other age groups. Third, under time-rate work, the wage gap is more or less independent of supposed occupation-based productivity differences between men and women, while under piece-rate work, the wage gap mirrors quite closely assumed productivity differences, with women receiving a wage premium in female-advantageous settings and a penalty in male-advantageous settings. Fourth, in contrast to Sweden, in Norway and the U.S. women sort more often into piece-rate work than men.

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    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/5619b3vh.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt5619b3vh.

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    Date of creation: 09 Aug 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt5619b3vh

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    Keywords: Employees;

    References

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    1. Gunderson, Morley, 1975. "Male-Female Wage Differentials and the Impact of Equal Pay Legislation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(4), pages 462-69, November.
    2. Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance In Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074, August.
    3. Henry Sanborn, 1964. "Pay differences between men and women," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 17(4), pages 534-550, July.
    4. Waldfogel, Jane, 1998. "The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 505-45, July.
    5. Edith Abbott & S. P. Breckinridge, 1911. "Women in Industry: The Chicago Stockyards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19, pages 632.
    6. Cox, Donald & Nye, John Vincent, 1989. "Male-Female Wage Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 903-920, December.
    7. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
    8. Petersen, Trond, 1991. "Reward Systems and the Distribution of Wages," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 130-58, Special I.
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