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A Quantitative Theory of the Gender Gap in Wages

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  • Andrés Erosa
  • Luisa Fuster
  • Diego Restuccia

Abstract

Using panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), we document that gender differences in wages almost double during the first 20 years of labor market experience and that there are substantial gender differences in employment and hours of work during the life cycle. A large portion of gender differences in labor market attachment can be traced to the impact of children on the labor supply of women. We develop a quantitative life-cycle model of fertility, labor supply, and human capital accumulation decisions. We use this model to assess the role of fertility on gender differences in labor supply and wages over the life cycle. In our model, fertility lowers the lifetime intensity of market activity, reducing the incentives for human capital accumulation and wage growth over the life cycle of females relative to males. We calibrate the model to panel data of men and to fertility and child related labor market histories of women. We find that fertility accounts for most of the gender differences in labor supply and wages during the life cycle documented in the NLSY data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-199.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 11 Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-199

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Keywords: Gender wage gap; employment; experience; fertility; human capital;

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References

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  1. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2009. "A general equilibrium analysis of parental leave policies," Working Papers 2009-10, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
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  5. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2002. "Fertility Decisions and Gender Differences in Labor Turnover, Employment, and Wages," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 856-891, October.
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  14. José María Da Rocha & Luisa Fuster, 2006. "Why Are Fertility Rates And Female Employment Ratios Positively Correlated Across O.E.C.D. Countries?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1187-1222, November.
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  16. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polacheck, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 397-431 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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