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The Changing Distribution of Male and Female Wages, 1978-2000: Can the Simple Skills Story be Rejected?

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  • Gosling, Amanda

Abstract

This Paper attempts to reconcile two apparently contradictory trends in the UK labour market over the 1980s and 1990s. While wage differentials based on observed skill have risen for men, wage differentials between men and women have fallen. If women earn less than men because they are less skilled, then one would expect differences across genders to follow the same trends as differences across skills. The simplest explanation of the data is that the labour market has become more competitive, resulting in a fall in discrimination and an increase in the return to skill. As this explanation is not directly and easily testable, this Paper examines its plausibility by assessing other explanations for these results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4045.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4045

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Keywords: male-female wage differentials; wage inequality;

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References

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  1. Gosling, Amanda & Machin, Stephen & Meghir, Costas, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Male Wages in the U.K," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 635-66, October.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," NBER Working Papers 4678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dickens L, 1993. "Collective bargaining and the promotion of equality : the case of the United Kingdom," ILO Working Papers 296639, International Labour Organization.
  5. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1994. "Rising Wage Inequality and the U.S. Gender Gap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 23-28, May.
  6. Fortin, N.M. & Lemieux, T., 1996. "Rank Regressions, Wage Distributions and the Gender Gap," Cahiers de recherche 9607, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  7. Alan Manning, 1993. "The Equal Pay Act as an Experiment to Test Theories of the Labour Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0153, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Learning from International Comparisons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 533-38, May.
  9. Bell, Brian D & Pitt, Michael K, 1998. "Trade Union Decline and the Distribution of Wages in the UK: Evidence from Kernel Density Estimation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 60(4), pages 509-28, November.
  10. Susan Harkness, 1996. "The gender earnings gap: evidence from the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(2), pages 1-36, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Philip Sauré & Hosny Zoabi, 2009. "Effects of Trade on Female Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 2009-12, Swiss National Bank.
  2. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," 2006 Meeting Papers 43, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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