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

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  • Claudia Olivetti
  • Barbara Petrongolo

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 Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1093.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1093

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: gender gaps; education; demand and supply; industry structure;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Claudia Olivetti, 2013. "The Female Labor Force and Long-run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective," NBER Working Papers 19131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fabio Mariani, 2008. "The economic value of virtue," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne v08101, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  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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