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Women's Wages in Women's Work: A U.S./Canada Comparison of the Roles of Unions and "Public Goods" Sector Jobs

Listed author(s):
  • Nicole M. Fortin
  • Michael Baker

In this paper, we investigate the mechanism by which the femaleness of occupations has a negative effect on women's wages. We relate US/Canada differences in labor market institutions, the returns to skills and other dimensions of the wage structure, such as occupational rents, to corresponding differences in the rewards to female jobs. Our analysis, which uses US data from the CPS-ORG for 1988 and Canadian data from the 1988 LMAS, uncovers intriguing US/Canada differences in the effect of occupational gender composition on women's wages. The estimated effect for Canadian women is generally small and not statistically significant, while estimates for American women are relatively large and comparable to the evidence in previous studies. Relating these differences to cross-country variation in other wage determinants reveals that higher rates of unionization, and the higher occupation wage effects for certain public good sector jobs such as educational services, work to the advantage of Canadian women. We also find that the relatively higher pay of integrated jobs in the United States helps account for the larger negative effect of gender composition on women's wages in this country. Dans cet article, nous étudions le mécanisme par lequel le taux de féminité des occupations peut avoir un effect négatif sur les salaires des femmes. Nous utilisons une comparaison internationale États-Unis/Canada pour relier les différences institutionnelles du marché du travail, les différences dans les rendements des qualifications et dans d'autres dimensions de la structure salariale, comme les rentes occupationnelles, à des différences dans la rémunération des emplois à prédominance féminine. Notre analyse, qui utilise les données américaines provenant des CPS-ORG pour 1988 et les données canadiennes provenant de l'enquête sur l'activité aussi pour 1988, démontre l'existence de différences intéressantes entre les États-Unis et le Canada quant à l'effet du taux de féminité des occupa

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 89 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 198-203

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:89:y:1999:i:2:p:198-203
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.89.2.198
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  1. Helwege, Jean, 1992. "Sectoral Shifts and Interindustry Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(1), pages 55-84, January.
  2. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
  3. Michael Baker & Nicole M. Fortin, 1998. "Gender Composition and Wages: Why is Canada different from the United States?," Working Papers baker-98-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Jane Waldfogel, 1998. "Understanding the "Family Gap" in Pay for Women with Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 137-156, Winter.
  5. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-471, July.
  6. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
  7. Barbara R. Bergmann, 1974. "Occupational Segregation, Wages and Profits When Employers Discriminate by Race or Sex," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 103-110, April.
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