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Gender Wage Differences in West Germany: A Cohort Analysis

  • Bernd Fitzenberger
  • Gaby Wunderlich

A comprehensive descriptive analysis of gender wage differences over a long time period does not exist for West Germany. Using an empirical approach which explicitly takes into account changes of wage distributions for both males and females as well as life-cycle and birth cohort effects, we go beyond conventional decomposition techniques of the average gender wage gap. The paper provides stylized facts of the level and dynamics of the gender wage gap from 1975-95. The empirical analysis is based upon the IAB employment subsample. Our findings confirm the importance of distributional effects relating to skill level and employment status. While life-cycle wage growth is in general much lower for females compared to males, comparing their estimated time trends implies that the gender wage gap has narrowed substantially in the lower part of the wage distribution especially for low- and medium-skilled females but much less so in the upper part of the wage distribution. Surprisingly, we do not find any cohort effects for wages of female employees. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.

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Article provided by Verein für Socialpolitik in its journal German Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 3 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 379-414

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Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:3:y:2002:i:4:p:379-414
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  1. Gosling, Amanda & Machin, Stephen & Meghir, Costas, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Male Wages in the U.K," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 635-66, October.
  2. Fitzenberger, Bernd, 1998. "The moving blocks bootstrap and robust inference for linear least squares and quantile regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 235-287, February.
  3. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1996. "Wage Structure and Gender Earnings Differentials: An International Comparison," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages S29-62, Suppl..
  4. Bernhard Boockmann & Viktor Steiner, 2006. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(10), pages 1135-1152.
  5. Jennifer Hunt, 2002. "The Transition in East Germany: When Is a Ten-Point Fall in the Gender Wage Gap Bad News?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 148-169, January.
  6. Reinhard Hujer & Bernd Fitzenberger & Reinhold Schnabel & Thomas E. MaCurdy, 2001. "Testing for uniform wage trends in West-Germany: A cohort analysis using quantile regressions for censored data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 41-86.
  7. Joachim Möller, 1999. "Changes of the Structure of Wages and Employment with Respect to Qualifications in Germany: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 219(1+2), pages 8-31, July.
  8. Powell, James L., 1986. "Censored regression quantiles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 143-155, June.
  9. Lauer, Charlotte, 2000. "Gender wage gap in West Germany: how far do gender differences in human capital matter?," ZEW Discussion Papers 00-07, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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