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Something in the way she moves: a fresh look at an old gap

  • Alan Manning
  • Helen Robinson

In this paper, we propose a new decomposition as a useful complement to traditional methods of explaining the gender pay gap and the pay gap between full-time and part-time women. We decompose average earnings into the contribution of the average starting wage for workers entering paid work from non-employment, average wage growth for those in continuous employment, and the fraction of workers entering employment. We use this to inform discussion of the pay gap, first, between men and women and, second, between full-time and part-time women. Comparing men and women using data drawn from the British Household Panel Survey, we find no significant differences in wage growth whilst in continuous employment: the source of the gender pay gap comes from the entrant pay gap and the share of entrants. The study of longer-run changes leads us to expect a modest further narrowing of this gap. Comparisons of full- and part-time women indicate no difference in entry pay shares and little difference in wage growth. The bulk of the full- to part-time gap is explained in terms of the fact that women working part-time are much more likely to be entrants to the labour market. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 56 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 169-188

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:56:y:2004:i:2:p:169-188
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  1. Albrecht, J & Edin, P-A & Sundstrom, M & Vroman, S-B, 1996. "Career Interruptions and Subsequent Earning : A Reexamination Using Swedish Data," Papers 1996-23, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  2. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Dickens, Richard, 2000. "The Evolution of Individual Male Earnings in Great Britain: 1975-95," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 27-49, January.
  5. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
  6. Gronau, Reuben, 1988. "Sex-Related Wage Differentials and Women's Interrupted Labor Careers--The Chicken or the Egg," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 277-301, July.
  7. Richard Dickens, 1996. "The Evolution of Individual Male Earnings in Great Britain 1974-1994," CEP Discussion Papers dp0306, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Edin, P.A. & Nynabb, J., 1992. "Gender Wage Differentials and Interrupted Work Careers : Swedish Evidence," Papers 1992-17, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
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