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Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?

Listed author(s):
  • Christopher Dougherty
Registered author(s):

    Many studies have found that the impact of schooling on earnings is greater for females than for males, despite the fact that females tend to earn less, both absolutely and controlling for personal characteristics. This study investigates possible reasons for this effect, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979–. One explanation is that education appears to have a double effect on the earnings of women. It increases their skills and productivity, as it does with men, and in addition it appears to reduce the gap in male and female earnings attributable to factors such as discrimination, tastes, and circumstances. The latter appear to account for about half of the differential in the returns to schooling.

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    File URL: http://jhr.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/XL/4/969
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    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 969-988

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:40:y:2005:i:4:p:969-988
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    1. 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.
    2. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-465, July.
    3. F. L. Jones, 1983. "On Decomposing the Wage Gap: A Critical Comment on Blinder's Method," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 126-130.
    4. J.G. Hirschberg & D.J. Slottje, 2002. "Bounding Estimates of Wage Discrimination," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 854, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
    6. Kenny, Lawrence W, et al, 1979. "Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-Selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 775-789, October.
    7. Mary Corcoran & Greg J. Duncan, 1979. "Work History, Labor Force Attachment, and Earnings Differences between the Races and Sexes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 3-20.
    8. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    9. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    10. Gunderson, Morley, 1989. "Male-Female Wage Differentials and Policy Responses," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 46-72, March.
    11. Malcolm S. Cohen, 1971. "Sex Differences in Compensation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 6(4), pages 434-447.
    12. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
    13. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    14. O'Neill, June & Polachek, Solomon, 1993. "Why the Gender Gap in Wages Narrowed in the 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-228, January.
    15. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Leonard A. Carlson & Caroline Swartz, 1988. "The Earnings of Women and Ethnic Minorities, 1959–1979," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 530-546, July.
    17. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
    18. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-579, November.
    19. Fishback, Price V & Terza, Joseph V, 1989. "Are Estimates of Sex Discrimination by Employers Robust? The Use of Never-Marrieds," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(2), pages 271-285, April.
    20. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
    21. Alison J. Wellington, 1993. "Changes in the Male/Female Wage Gap, 1976-85," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(2), pages 383-411.
    22. W. Norton Grubb, 1993. "The Varied Economic Returns to Postsecondary Education: New Evidence from the Class of 1972," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(2), pages 365-382.
    23. Mark R. Rosenzweig, 1976. "Nonlinear Earnings Functions, Age, and Experience: A Nondogmatic Reply and Some Additional Evidence," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 11(1), pages 23-27.
    24. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:41:y:1988:i:4:p:530-552 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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