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Subject of degree and the gender wage differential: evidence from the UK and Germany


  • Machin, Stephen
  • Puhani, Patrick A.


We show that controlling for subject of degree explains a significant part of the male/female gender wage differential amongst graduates. Using data from the labour force surveys of the United Kingdom and Germany, we find similar results in these two countries: subject of degree explains about 2-4 percent higher wages of male over female graduates after controlling for age, industry, region, part-time and public sector employment. This is a significant part (between 9 to 19 percent) of the overall male/female gender wage gap, and an even larger amount of the part explained by factors entered into wage equations (at around 20 to 29 percent of the explained component).
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  • Machin, Stephen & Puhani, Patrick A., 2003. "Subject of degree and the gender wage differential: evidence from the UK and Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 393-400, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:79:y:2003:i:3:p:393-400

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-465, July.
    2. Paglin, Morton & Rufolo, Anthony M, 1990. "Heterogeneous Human Capital, Occupational Choice, and Male-Female Earnings Differences," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 123-144, January.
    3. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    4. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1997. "Swimming Upstream: Trends in the Gender Wage Differential in 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 1-42, January.
    5. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    6. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
    7. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    8. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-243, May.
    9. Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
    10. Eric Eide, 1994. "College Major Choice And Changes In The Gender Wage Gap," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(2), pages 55-64, April.
    11. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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


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