Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings
Work preferences and preparation (college major) are included in an analysis of the gender differential in earnings among recent college graduates, using data from the National Longitudinal Studies of the High School Class of 1972. The results indicate a tendency for the young men and young women in the sample to prefer different occupational roles and to major in different fields of study in college. Together, these differences account for about one-third to two-thirds of the gender gap in hourly earnings three years after college graduation. This indicates that omission of work preferences and college major leads to an overestimation of the degree of current labor market discrimination against young female college graduates.
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