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Do Male-Female Wage Differentials Reflect Differences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence from 1980-2000

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  • Paul Beaudry
  • Ethan Lewis

Abstract

Male-female wage gaps declined significantly over the 1980s and 1990s, while returns to education increased. In this paper, we use cross-city data to explore whether, like the return to education, the change in the gender wage gap may reflect changes in skill prices induced by the diffusion of information technology. We show that male-female and education-wage differentials moved in opposite directions in response to the adoption of PCs. Our most credible estimates simply that changes in skill prices driven by PC adoption can explain most of the decline in the US male-female wage gap since 1980.

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  • Paul Beaudry & Ethan Lewis, 2014. "Do Male-Female Wage Differentials Reflect Differences in the Return to Skill? Cross-City Evidence from 1980-2000," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 178-194, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:178-94
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.6.2.178
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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