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Gender Gaps Across Countries and Skills: Supply, Demand and the Industry Structure

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  • Claudia Olivetti
  • Barbara Petrongolo

Abstract

The gender wage gap varies widely across countries and across skill groups within countries. Interestingly, there is a positive cross-country correlation between the unskilled- to-skilled gender wage gap and the corresponding gap in hours worked. Based on a canonical supply and demand framework, this positive correlation would reveal the presence of net demand forces shaping gender differences in labor market outcomes across skills and countries. We use a simple multi-sector framework to illustrate how differences in labor demand for different inputs can be driven by both within-industry and between-industry factors. The main idea is that, if the service sector is more developed in the US than in continental Europe, and unskilled women tend to be over-represented in this sector, we expect unskilled women to suffer a relatively large wage and/or employment penalty in the latter than in the former. We find that, overall, the between-industry component of labor demand explains more than half of the total variation in labor demand between the US and the majority of countries in our sample, as well as one-third of the correlation between wage and hours gaps. The between-industry component is relatively more important in countries where the relative demand for unskilled females is lowest.

Suggested Citation

  • Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2011. "Gender Gaps Across Countries and Skills: Supply, Demand and the Industry Structure," CEP Discussion Papers dp1093, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1093
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. L. Rachel Ngai & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "Gender Gaps and the Rise of the Service Economy," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1-44, October.
    2. Fabio Mariani, 2012. "The economic value of virtue," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 323-356, December.
    3. David De La Croix & Fabio Mariani, 2015. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 565-607.
    4. Claudia Olivetti, 2014. "The Female Labor Force and Long-Run Development: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 161-197 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Tatiana Damjanovic & Geethanjali Selvaretnam, 2015. "Economic Growth and Evolution of Gender Equality," Working Papers 2015_20, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    6. Kucera, David & Tejani, Sheba, 2014. "Feminization, Defeminization, and Structural Change in Manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 569-582.
    7. Shirai, Daichi & Nagamachi, Kohei & Eguchi, Naotaka, 2012. "The Impacts of Firms' Technology Choice on the Gender Differences in Wage and Time Allocation: A Cross-Country Analysis," MPRA Paper 56666, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Jun 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender gaps; education; demand and supply; industry structure;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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