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An Equilibrium Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap

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  • Elisabeth Hermann Frederiksen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

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    Abstract

    This paper develops a theory of the gender wage gap. In a general equilibrium model, spouses devide their labor between a formal sector and a home sector. Due to indivisibility effects, productivity of labor in the formal sector is negatively related to labor used in the home; at the same time labor inputs are complementary in home production. We show that initial beliefs about the gender wage gap are self-fulfilling, and a central result is multiplicity of equilibria. Spouses allocate their labor equally, if they expect to earn the same wage rates, which ex post reinforces equal wage rates; whereas they allocate their labor differently, if they expect to earn different wage rates. The latter situation manifests itself in a gender wage gap. By use of numerical examples, we show that welfare is highest when spouses allocate labor equally. We relate this finding to policy recommendations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 06-08.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:06-08

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    Keywords: gender wage gap; household models; household production; labor markets;

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    References

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    1. Apps, Patricia F & Rees, Ray, 1997. "Collective Labor Supply and Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 178-90, February.
    2. Claudia Olivetti & Stefania Albanesi, 2005. "Home Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-013, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    3. Elul, Ronel & Silva-Reus, Jose & Volij, Oscar, 2002. "Will you marry me?: A perspective on the gender gap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 549-572, December.
    4. Edin, Per-Anders & Richardson, Katarina, 2002. " Swimming with the Tide: Solidary Wage Policy and the Gender Earnings Gap," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(1), pages 49-67.
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    6. Edin, P.A. & Richardson, K., 1999. "Swemming with the Tide: Solidarity Wage Policy and the Gender Earnings Gap," Papers 1999:11, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    7. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Ronald L. Oaxaca & Nina Smith, 2006. "Swimming upstream, floating downstream: Comparing women's relative wage progress in the United States and Denmark," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(2), pages 243-266, January.
    8. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
    9. Meyersson Milgrom, Eva M & Petersen, Trond & Snartland, Vemund, 2001. " Equal Pay for Equal Work? Evidence from Sweden and a Comparison with Norway and the U.S," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 559-83, December.
    10. Moro,A. & Norman,P., 2001. "A general equilibrium model of statistical discrimination," Working papers 4, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    11. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages S33-58, January.
    12. Thomas Aronsson & Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Magnus Wikström, 2001. "Estimating intrahousehold allocation in a collective model with household production," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 569-584.
    13. Rosholm, Michael & Smith, Nina, 1996. "The Danish Gender Wage Gap in the 1980s: A Panel Data Study," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 254-79, April.
    14. Booth, Alison & Jeff Frank & David Blackaby, 2003. "Outside Offers and the Gender Pay Gap: Empirical Evidence from the UK Academic Labour Market," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 28, Royal Economic Society.
    15. Waldfogel, Jane, 1998. "The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 505-45, July.
    16. Blackaby, David & Booth, Alison L & Frank, Jeff, 2002. "Outside Offers and the Gender Pay Gap: Empirical Evidence from the UK," CEPR Discussion Papers 3549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," NBER Working Papers 7732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Bonke, Jens & Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina, 2003. "Timing and Flexibility of Housework and Men and Women's Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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