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The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People

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  • Nicole M. Fortin

Abstract

Using two single-cohort longitudinal surveys, the NLS72 and the NELS88, I investigate the impact of four noncognitive traits—self-esteem, external locus of control, the importance of money/work and the importance of people/ family—on wages and on the gender wage gap among these young workers. I find that gender differences in these noncognitive factors, especially the importance of money/work, have a modest but significant role in accounting for the gender wage gap. Methodologically, this paper proposes a correction to the Oaxaca-Blinder-Ransom decomposition that results in a truly decomposable approach compatible with the simple pooled regression that includes a gender dummy.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicole M. Fortin, 2008. "The Gender Wage Gap among Young Adults in the United States: The Importance of Money versus People," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:43:y:2008:i4:p884-918
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    2. Margo Coleman & Thomas DeLeire, 2003. "An Economic Model of Locus of Control and the Human Capital Investment Decision," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    3. James Andreoni & Lise Vesterlund, 2001. "Which is the Fair Sex? Gender Differences in Altruism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 293-312.
    4. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    5. Glen R. Waddell, 2006. "Labor-Market Consequences of Poor Attitude and Low Self-Esteem in Youth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 69-97, January.
    6. Javier Gardeazabal & Arantza Ugidos, 2004. "More on Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1034-1036, November.
    7. Goldsmith, Arthur H & Veum, Jonathan R & Darity, William, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Psychological and Human Capital on Wages," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 815-829, October.
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