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Prejudice and Gender Differentials in the U.S. Labor Market in the Last Twenty Years

  • Luca Flabbi

Earnings differentials between men and women have experienced a stable convergence during the 1980s, following a process started in the late 1970s. However, in the 1990s the convergence has almost stopped. The first objective of the paper is to evaluate if discrimination, defined as explicit prejudice, may have a role in explaining this slowdown in the converge. The second objective is to assess whether the prediction of a de- crease in the proportion of prejudiced employers implied by the Becker's model of taste discrimination is taking place and if so at what speed. These objectives are achieved by developing and estimating a search model of the labor market with matching, bargaining, employer's prejudice and worker's participation decisions. The results show that the proportion of prejudiced employers is estimated to be decreasing at an increasing speed, going from about 69% in 1985 to about 32% in 2005. Therefore prejudice does not seem a relevant factor in explaining the slower convergence be- tween male and female earnings in the 1990s. The results are consistent with the Becker's model of taste discrimination if one is willing to assume a very slow adjustment process.

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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 57.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:57
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  1. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2006. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990s: Slowing Convergence," IZA Discussion Papers 2176, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Flinn, C. J., 2000. "Interpreting Minimum Wage Effects on Wage Distributions: A Cautionary Tale," Working Papers 00-08, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bollinger, Christopher R, 1998. "Measurement Error in the Current Population Survey: A Nonparametric Look," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 576-94, July.
  5. Eckstein, Z. & Wolpin, K.I., 1992. "Duration to First Job and the Return to Schooling : Estimates form a Search -Matching Model," Papers 13-92, Tel Aviv.
  6. James J. Heckman, 1998. "Detecting Discrimination," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 101-116, Spring.
  7. Flabbi, Luca, 2005. "Gender Discrimination Estimation in a Search Model with Matching and Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 1764, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Bowlus, Audra J & Eckstein, Zvi, 1998. "Discrimination and Skill Differences in an Equilibrium Search Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 1859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Thomas Lemieux & Nicole M. Fortin, 2000. "Are Women's Wage Gains Men's Losses? A Distributional Test," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 456-460, May.
  10. Bowlus, Audra J, 1997. "A Search Interpretation of Male-Female Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 625-57, October.
  11. Flinn, Christopher, 2003. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search with Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162, October.
  13. Christopher J. Flinn, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search, Matching, and Endogenous Contact Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 1013-1062, 07.
  14. Zvi Eckstein & Éva Nagypál, 2004. "The evolution of U.S. earnings inequality: 1961?2002," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Dec, pages 10-29.
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