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

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  • Olivetti, Claudia
  • Petrongolo, Barbara

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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8545.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8545

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

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Cited by:
  1. Shirai, Daichi & Nagamachi, Kohei & Eguchi, Naotaka, 2012. "The Impacts of Firms' Technology Choice on the Gender Differences in Wage and Time Allocation: A Cross-Country Analysis," MPRA Paper 56666, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Jun 2014.
  2. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2014. "Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy," Discussion Papers 1404, Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM).
  3. Fabio Mariani, 2008. "The economic value of virtue," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00348928, HAL.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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