Unexplained Gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder Decompositions
AbstractWe analyze four methods to measure unexplained gaps in mean outcomes: three decompositions based on the seminal work of Oaxaca (1973) and Blinder (1973) and an approach involving a seemingly naïve regression that includes a group indicator variable. Our analysis yields two principal findings. We show that the coefficient on a group indicator variable from an OLS regression is an attractive approach for obtaining a single measure of the unexplained gap. We also show that a commonly-used pooling decomposition systematically overstates the contribution of observable characteristics to mean outcome differences when compared to OLS regression, therefore understating unexplained differences. We then provide three empirical examples that explore the practical importance of our analytic results.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4159.
Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2010, 17 (1), 284-290
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Other versions of this item:
- Elder, Todd E. & Goddeeris, John H. & Haider, Steven J., 2010. "Unexplained gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 284-290, January.
- Todd E. Elder & John H. Goddeeris & Steven J. Haider, 2009. "Unexplained Gaps and Oaxaca-Blinder Decompositions," CEPR Discussion Papers 600, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
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