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Rhetoric in Economic Research: The Case of Gender Wage Differentials

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  • Weichselbaumer, Doris

    ()
    (University of Linz)

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

    ()
    (University of Linz)

Abstract

Scientific rhetoric can have a profound impact on the perception of research; it can also drive and direct further research efforts. What determines whether results are discussed in a neutral or a judgmental way? How precise and convincing must results be so that authors call for significant policy changes? These questions are in general difficult to answer, because rhetoric on the one hand, and content and methodology of the paper on the other, cannot be separated easily. We, therefore, use a unique example to examine this question empirically: the analysis of gender wage differentials. Here, the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition represents a standard research method that compares male and female earnings, holding productivity constant. We analyze close to 200 papers to investigate what drives authors to talk about “discrimination”, whether and when they call for policy activism or when they are more hesitant to do so. Furthermore, we examine whether the rhetoric used really reveals an author's prejudice on the topic which may also be reflected in data selection and thereby his or her findings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 905.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Industrial Relations, 2006, 45 (3), 416–436
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp905

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Keywords: gender wage differential; discrimination; rhetoric;

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References

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  1. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Doris Weichselbaumer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2005. "A Meta-Analysis of the International Gender Wage Gap," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 479-511, 07.
  3. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  4. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
  5. T.D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell, 1998. "Gender Wage Discrimination Bias? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 947-973.
  6. Zwiebel, Jeffrey H. & Vayanos, Dimitri & DeMarzo, Peter M., 2001. "Persuasion Bias, Social Influence, and Uni-Dimensional Opinions," Research Papers 1719, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  7. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-79, November.
  8. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  9. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
  10. Jacques Silber & Michal Weber, 1999. "Labour market discrimination: are there significant differences between the various decomposition procedures?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 359-365.
  11. Randall S. Brown & Marilyn Moon & Barbara S. Zoloth, 1980. "Incorporating Occupational Attainment in Studies of Male-Female Earnings Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(1), pages 3-28.
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Cited by:
  1. Weichselbaumer, Doris & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimüller, Martina, 2007. "Market Orientation and Gender Wage Gaps: An International Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 6388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Evangelia Papapetrou, 2004. "Gender Wage Differentials in Greece," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, Economic Research Department, issue 23, pages 47-64, July.
  3. Doris Weichselbaumer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2003. "A meta-analysis of the international gender wage gap," Economics working papers 2003-11, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  4. Evangelia Papapetrou, 2008. "Evidence on gender wage differentials in Greece," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 155-166, June.
  5. Theodoros S. Papaspyrou, 2004. "EMU strategies for new Member States: the role of Exchange Rate Mechanism II," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, Economic Research Department, issue 23, pages 7-25, July.
  6. Theodore M. Mitrakos, 2004. "Education and economic inequalities," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, Economic Research Department, issue 23, pages 27-46, July.
  7. Mary E. Graham & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2008. "Elimination of gender-related employment disparities through statistical process control," Working Paper 2008-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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