The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence
AbstractThis paper uses micro-data to analyze international differences in the gender pay gap among a sample of ten industrialized nations. We particularly focus on explaining the surprisingly low ranking of the U.S. in comparison to other industrialized countries. Empirical research on gender pay gaps has traditionally focused on the role of gender-specific factors, particularly gender differences in qualifications and differences in the treatment of otherwise equally qualified male and female workers (i.e., labor market discrimination). An innovative feature of our study is to focus on the role of wage structure--the array of prices set for various labor market skills--in influencing the gender gap. The striking finding of this study is the enormous importance of overall wage structure in explaining the lower ranking of U.S. women. Our results suggest that the U.S. gap would be similar to that in countries like Sweden, Italy and Australia (the countries with the smallest gaps) if the U.S. had their level of wage inequality. This insight helps to resolve three puzzling sets of facts: (1) U.S. women compare favorably with women in other countries in terms of human capital and occupational status: (2) the U.S. has had a longer and often stronger commitment to equal pay and equal employment opportunity policies than have most of the other countries in our sample; but (3) the gender pay gap is larger in the U.S. than in most industrialized countries. An important part of the explanation of this pattern is that the labor market in the U.S. places a much larger penalty on those with lower levels of labor market skills (both measured and unmeasured).
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4224.
Date of creation: Jul 1996
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Francine D. Blau, Lawrence Kahn. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence," in Richard B. Freeman and Lawrence F. Katz, Editors, "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures" University of Chicago Press (1995)
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 1995. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Some International Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 105-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.