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Male-Female Wage Differences: The Importance of Compensating Differentials


  • Randall K. Filer


This study investigates the extent to which differences in average earnings between men and women may be the result of sorting by the sexes into jobs with different average levels of disagreeable and agreeable working conditions. An analysis of data from the 1977 Quality of Employment Survey shows that, on average, men and women hold jobs with substantially different working conditions and that these differences are of a pattern suggesting the need to pay higher wages to attract employees to the jobs held by men. Estimation of wage equations shows that these differences in working conditions contribute significantly to the ability to explain average earnings for each sex.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall K. Filer, 1985. "Male-Female Wage Differences: The Importance of Compensating Differentials," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(3), pages 426-437, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:38:y:1985:i:3:p:426-437

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boskin, Michael J. & Hurd, Michael D., 1978. "The effect of social security on early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 361-377, December.
    2. Deardorff, Alan V & Stafford, Frank P, 1976. "Compensation of Cooperating Factors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 671-684, July.
    3. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," NBER Chapters,in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Parsons, Donald O, 1982. "The Male Labour Force Participation Decision: Health, Reported Health, and Economic Incentives," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 49(193), pages 81-91, February.
    5. Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "Taxes in a Labor Supply Model with Joint Wage-Hours Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 485-507, May.
    6. John B. Burbidge & A. Leslie Robb, 1980. "Pensions and Retirement Behaviour," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 13(3), pages 421-437, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joyce P. Jacobsen, 2012. "Closing the Gender Gap: What Would It Take?," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2012-006, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    2. Eleonora Matteazzi & Ariane Pailhé & Anne Solaz, 2013. "Does Part-Time Employment Widen the Gender Wage Gap? Evidence from Twelve European Countries," Working Papers 293, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Helen Levy, 2006. "Health Insurance and the Wage Gap," NBER Working Papers 11975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Oglobin, C., 2005. "The Sectoral Distribution of Employment and Job Segregation by Gender in Russia," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 5(2).
    5. Rassou R., 1993. "Statistical measurement of gender wage differentials," ILO Working Papers 992920693402676, International Labour Organization.
    6. Elaine McCrate, 2013. "Employer-oriented schedule flexibility, gender and family care," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 17, pages 273-289 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Zheng Mu & Yu Xie, 2016. "'Motherhood penalty' and 'fatherhood premium'? Fertility effects on parents in China," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(47), pages 1373-1410, November.
    8. repec:spr:jlabrs:v:50:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s12651-017-0226-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Patricia E. Gaynor & Garey C. Durden, 1997. "The Cost of Being Nonwhite and the Added Cost of Being Female in The South and Southwest," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 27(2), pages 195-209, Fall.

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