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Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?


  • Macpherson, David A
  • Hirsch, Barry T


Occupational sex segregation and its relationship with wages during 1973-93 are examined. Wage level and wage change models are estimated using Current Population Survey data matched with measures of occupational skills and job disamenities. Standard analysis confirms that wage levels are substantially lower in predominantly female occupations. Gender composition effects are reduced by about a quarter for women and by over one-half for men following control for skill-related occupational characteristics. Longitudinal analysis indicates that two-thirds or more of the standard gender composition effect is accounted for by occupational characteristics and unmeasured worker skill or taste differences. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-471, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:13:y:1995:i:3:p:426-71

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francine D. Blau & Andrea H. Beller, 1988. "Trends in Earnings Differentials by Gender, 1971–1981," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 513-529, July.
    2. Kossoudji, Sherrie A. & Dresser, Laura J., 1992. "Working Class Rosies: Women Industrial Workers during World War II," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(02), pages 431-446, June.
    3. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1992. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 515-535.
    4. Judith Fields & Edward N. Wolff, 1991. "The Decline of Sex Segregation and the Wage Gap, 1970-80," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(4), pages 608-622.
    5. Erica L. Groshen, 1991. "The Structure of the Female/Male Wage Differential: Is It Who You Are, What You Do, or Where You Work?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(3), pages 457-472.
    6. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
    7. Johnson, George & Solon, Gary, 1986. "Estimates of the Direct Effects of Comparable Worth Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1117-1125, December.
    8. Barbara R. Bergmann, 1974. "Occupational Segregation, Wages and Profits When Employers Discriminate by Race or Sex," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 103-110, April.
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