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Wage formation and gender wage gaps: The changing role of human capital in the Finnish technology industry

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  • Asplund, Rita
  • Lilja, Reija
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    Abstract

    Both academia and policymakers express a strong belief in higher average education levels exerting a narrowing impact on wage inequality in general and gender wage gaps in particular. The present paper scrutinizes whether or not this effect extends to R&D- and export-intensive branches such as the technology industry. The answer seems to be a cautious ‘no’. Indeed, while changes in standard human capital endowments can explain little, if anything, of the growth in real wages or the widening of wage dispersion among the Finnish technology industry’s white-collar workers, a new job task evaluation scheme introduced in 2002 seems to have succeeded, at least in part, to make the wage-setting process more transparent by re-allocating especially the industry’s female white-collar workers in a way that better reflects their skills, efforts and responsibilities. One crucial implication of this finding is that improving the standard human capital of women closer to that of men will not suffice to narrow the gender wage gap in the advanced parts of the economy and, hence, not also the overall gender wage gap. The reason is obvi-ous : concomitant with rising average education levels, other skill aspects have received increasing attention in working life. Consequently, a conscious combination of formal and informal competencies as laid down in well-designed job task evaluation schemes may, in many instances, offer a more powerful path to tackling the gender wage gap.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy in its series Discussion Papers with number 1230.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:1230

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    Related research

    Keywords: Palkanmuodotus ja sukupuolten väliset palkkaerot: inhimillisen pääoman muuttunut rooli Suomen teknologiateollisuudessa;

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    References

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    1. Victor Chernozhukov & Ivan Fernandez-Val & Blaise Melly, 2008. "Inference On Counterfactual Distributions," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series wp2008-005, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    2. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Rising Wage Inequality: The Role of Composition and Prices," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2096, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    4. Melly, Blaise, 2005. "Decomposition of differences in distribution using quantile regression," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 577-590, August.
    5. Chzhen, Yekaterina & Mumford, Karen A., 2009. "Gender Gaps across the Earnings Distribution in Britain: Are Women Bossy Enough?," IZA Discussion Papers 4331, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. 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.
    7. Blaise Melly, 2005. "Public-private sector wage differentials in Germany: Evidence from quantile regression," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 505-520, 09.
    8. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
    9. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
    10. Rita Asplund, 2010. "Sources of Increased Wage Differentials in the Finnish Private Sector," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 43-61, Spring.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rita Asplund & Sami Napari, 2011. "Intangibles and the Gender Wage Gap: An Analysis of Gender Wage Gaps Across Occupations in the Finnish Private Sector," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 305-325, December.

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