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Gender Pay Gap and Employment Sector: Sources of Earnings Disparities in the United States, 1970–2010

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  • Hadas Mandel

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  • Moshe Semyonov

Abstract

Using data from the IPUMS-USA, the present research focuses on trends in the gender earnings gap in the United States between 1970 and 2010. The major goal of this article is to understand the sources of the convergence in men’s and women’s earnings in the public and private sectors as well as the stagnation of this trend in the new millennium. For this purpose, we delineate temporal changes in the role played by major sources of the gap. Several components are identified: the portion of the gap attributed to gender differences in human-capital resources; labor supply; sociodemographic attributes; occupational segregation; and the unexplained portion of the gap. The findings reveal a substantial reduction in the gross gender earnings gap in both sectors of the economy. Most of the decline is attributed to the reduction in the unexplained portion of the gap, implying a significant decline in economic discrimination against women. In contrast to discrimination, the role played by human capital and personal attributes in explaining the gender pay gap is relatively small in both sectors. Differences between the two sectors are not only in the size and pace of the reduction but also in the significance of the two major sources of the gap. Working hours have become the most important factor with respect to gender pay inequality in both sectors, although much more dominantly in the private sector. The declining gender segregation may explain the decreased impact of occupations on the gender pay gap in the private sector. In the public sector, by contrast, gender segregation still accounts for a substantial portion of the gap. The findings are discussed in light of the theoretical literature on sources of gender economic inequality and in light of the recent stagnation of the trend. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Hadas Mandel & Moshe Semyonov, 2014. "Gender Pay Gap and Employment Sector: Sources of Earnings Disparities in the United States, 1970–2010," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(5), pages 1597-1618, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:5:p:1597-1618
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0320-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Gradín, 2020. "Segregation of women into low-paying occupations in the United States," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(17), pages 1905-1920, April.
    2. Carroll, David & Parasnis, Jaai & Tani, Massimiliano, 2018. "Teaching, Gender and Labour Market Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 12027, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Castagnetti, Carolina & Rosti, Luisa & Töpfer, Marina, 2017. "The convergence of the gender pay gap: An alternative estimation approach," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 14-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    4. Carlos Gradín, 2017. "Segregation of women into low-paying occupations in the US," Working Papers 426, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    5. Felix Busch, 0. "Gender Segregation, Occupational Sorting, and Growth of Wage Disparities Between Women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 0, pages 1-26.
    6. Carlos Gradín, 2017. "Segregation of women into low-paying occupations in the United States," WIDER Working Paper Series 089, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Bollen, Nicolas P.B. & Posavac, Steven, 2018. "Gender, risk tolerance, and false consensus in asset allocation recommendations," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 304-317.
    8. Hadas Mandel, 2018. "A Second Look at the Process of Occupational Feminization and Pay Reduction in Occupations," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(2), pages 669-690, April.
    9. Felix Busch, 2020. "Gender Segregation, Occupational Sorting, and Growth of Wage Disparities Between Women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(3), pages 1063-1088, June.
    10. ChangHwan Kim & Arthur Sakamoto, 2017. "Women’s Progress for Men’s Gain? Gender-Specific Changes in the Return to Education as Measured by Family Standard of Living, 1990 to 2009–2011," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(5), pages 1743-1772, October.

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