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Prejudice and Gender Differentials in the U.S. Labor Market in the Last Twenty Years

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Earnings differentials between men and women have experienced a stable convergence during the 1980s, following a process started in the late 1970s. However, in the 1990s the convergence has almost stopped. The first objective of the paper is to evaluate if discrimination, defined as explicit prejudice, may have a role in explaining this slowdown in the converge. The second objective is to assess whether the prediction of a decrease in the proportion of prejudiced employers implied by the Becker's model of taste discrimination is taking place and if so at what speed. These objectives are achieved by developing and estimating a search model of the labor market with matching, bargaining, employer's prejudice and worker's participation decisions. The results show that the proportion of prejudiced employers is estimated to be decreasing at an increasing speed, going from about 69% in 1985 to about 32% in 2005. Therefore prejudice does not seem a relevant factor in explaining the slower convergence between male and female earnings in the 1990s. The results are consistent with the Becker's model of taste discrimination if one is willing to assume a very slow adjustment process. Classification-JEL Codes: C51; J7; J64

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~07-07-07.

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Date of creation: 07 Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~07-07-07

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Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Postal: Marcia Suss Administrative Officer Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Web: http://econ.georgetown.edu/

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Keywords: gender differentials; discrimination; search models; maximum likelihood estimation; structural estimation;

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  1. Christopher J. Flinn, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search, Matching, and Endogenous Contact Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 1013-1062, 07.
  2. Luca Flabbi, 2010. "Gender Discrimination Estimation In A Search Model With Matching And Bargaining," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 745-783, 08.
  3. Bowlus, Audra J, 1997. "A Search Interpretation of Male-Female Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 625-57, October.
  4. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1995. "Duration to First Job and the Return to Schooling: Estimates from a Search-Matching Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 263-86, April.
  5. Bowlus, Audra J & Eckstein, Zvi, 1998. "Discrimination and Skill Differences in an Equilibrium Search Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 1859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Christopher J. Flinn, 2000. "Interpreting minimum wage effects on wage distribution: a cautionary tale," ICER Working Papers 05-2000, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research, revised May 2000.
  7. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2006. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence," IZA Discussion Papers 2176, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Thomas Lemieux & Nicole M. Fortin, 2000. "Are Women's Wage Gains Men's Losses? A Distributional Test," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 456-460, May.
  9. Flinn, Christopher, 2003. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search with Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  11. Flinn, C. J., 2000. "Interpreting Minimum Wage Effects on Wage Distributions: A Cautionary Tale," Working Papers 00-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  12. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226041162.
  13. Bollinger, Christopher R, 1998. "Measurement Error in the Current Population Survey: A Nonparametric Look," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 576-94, July.
  14. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Zvi Eckstein & Éva Nagypál, 2004. "The evolution of U.S. earnings inequality: 1961?2002," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Dec, pages 10-29.
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Cited by:
  1. Leonardo Felli & Leeat Yariv & Allan Collard-Wexler & Mariagiovanna Baccara, 2010. "Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption," 2010 Meeting Papers 273, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. G. Sulis, 2007. "Gender Wage Differentials in Italy: a Structural Estimation Approach," Working Paper CRENoS 200715, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  3. 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.
  4. Mergoupis, Thanos & Nandeibam, Shasi, 2011. "Wage Discrimination and Population Composition," Department of Economics Working Papers 37932, University of Bath, Department of Economics.

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