IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/h/eme/rleczz/s0147-912120140000041009.html
   My bibliography  Save this book chapter

A Biological Basis for the Gender Wage Gap: Fecundity and Age and Educational Hypogamy: Part of this paper was written while Solomon W. Polachek was a visiting scholar at the NBER in Cambridge, MA. We thank Vikesh Amin, Talia Bar, Erling Barth, Fran Blau, Richard Burkhauser, Henry Farber, Dan Feenberg, Richard Freeman, Claudia Goldin, David Hacker, Larry Kahn, Subal Kumbhakar, Shelly Lundberg, Haim Ofek, Thomas Rawski, Susan Wolcott, Dennis Yang, Xi Yang, seminar participants at Cornell University, IZA, Kasetsart University (Thailand), Rutgers University, SUNY-Albany, and SUNY-Buffalo, as well as Kostas Tatsiramos and two anonymous referees for valuable comments and suggestions

In: Gender Convergence in the Labor Market

Author

Listed:
  • Solomon W. Polachek
  • Xu Zhang
  • Xing Zhou

Abstract

Abstract This paper shows how a shorter fecundity horizon for females (a biological constraint) leads to age and educational disparities between husbands and wives. Empirical support is based on data from a natural experiment commencing before and ending after China’s 1980 one-child law. The results indicate that fertility in China declined by about 1.2–1.4 births per woman as a result of China’s anti-natalist policies. Concomitantly spousal age and educational differences narrowed by approximately 0.5–1.0 and 1.0–1.6 years, respectively. These decreases in the typical husband’s age and educational advantages are important in explaining the division of labor in the home, often given as a cause for the gender wage gap. Indeed, as fertility declined, which has been the historical trend in most developed countries, husband-wife age and educational differences diminished leading to less division of labor in the home and a smaller gender wage disparity. Unlike other models of division of labor in the home which rely on innately endogenous factors, this paper’s theory is based on an exogenous biological constraint.

Suggested Citation

  • Solomon W. Polachek & Xu Zhang & Xing Zhou, 2015. "A Biological Basis for the Gender Wage Gap: Fecundity and Age and Educational Hypogamy: Part of this paper was written while Solomon W. Polachek was a visiting scholar at the NBER in Cambridge, MA. We," Research in Labor Economics,in: Gender Convergence in the Labor Market, volume 41, pages 35-88 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:rleczz:s0147-912120140000041009
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/S0147-912120140000041009?utm_campaign=RePEc&WT.mc_id=RePEc
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender wage gap; marriage; husband-wife age; and educational gaps; homogamy; division of labor in the home; household economics; J1; J2; J3; J43; J7; J8; N3; N9; O5; Y8; Z13;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • Y8 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Related Disciplines
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:rleczz:s0147-912120140000041009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Charlotte Maiorana). General contact details of provider: http://www.emeraldinsight.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.