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Why Do Women's Wages Increase So Slowly Throughout Their Career? A Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination


  • Nathalie Havet
  • Catherine Sofer


The aim of this paper is to explain the growing wage differentials between men and women during their working careers. We provide a dynamic model of statistical discrimination, which integrates specific human capital decisions: on-the-job training investment and wages are endogenously determined. We reveal a small wage differential at the beginning of women's career, but women's wages increase more slowly; this is partly due to a lower level of human capital investment by women and partly because firms smooth training costs between different periods. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation CEIS, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathalie Havet & Catherine Sofer, 2008. "Why Do Women's Wages Increase So Slowly Throughout Their Career? A Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 291-314, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:labour:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:291-314

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-1105, December.
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    5. Michele Moretto & Gianpaolo Rossini, "undated". "Start-up entry strategies: Employer vs. Nonemployer firms," Working Papers ubs0409, University of Brescia, Department of Economics.
    6. Dixit, Avinash & Pindyck, Robert S & Sodal, Sigbjorn, 1999. "A Markup Interpretation of Optimal Investment Rules," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 179-189, April.
    7. Roberto Cellini & Luca Lambertini, 2006. "Workers’ enterprises are not perverse: differential oligopoly games with sticky price," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 10(3), pages 233-248, December.
    8. Steven R. Grenadier, 2002. "Option Exercise Games: An Application to the Equilibrium Investment Strategies of Firms," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(3), pages 691-721.
    9. Pestieau, P. & Thisse, J. -F., 1979. "On market imperfections and labor management," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 353-356.
    10. John V. Leahy, 1993. "Investment in Competitive Equilibrium: The Optimality of Myopic Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1105-1133.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rune V. Lesner, 2016. "Testing for Statistical Discrimination based on Gender," Economics Working Papers 2016-07, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; 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
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing


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