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Gender Composition and Wages: Why Is Canada Different from the United States?

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  • Michael Baker
  • Nicole Fortin

Abstract

The correlation of occupational gender composition and wages is the basis of pay equity/comparable worth legislation. A number of previous studies have examined this correlation in US data, identifying some of the determinants of low wages in "female jobs", as well as important limitations of public policy in this area. There is little evidence, however, from other jurisdictions. This omission is particularly disturbing in the case of Canada, which now has some of the most extensive pay equity legislation in the world. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive picture, circa the late 1980's, of the occupational gender segregation in Canada and its consequences for wages. We also draw explicit comparisons of our findings to evidence for the United States. We find that the link between female wages and gender composition is much stronger in the United States than in Canada, where it is generally small and not statistically significant. The relatively more advantageous position of women in female jobs in Canada is found to be linked to higher unionization rates and the industry-wage effects of "public goods" sectors.
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Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Nicole Fortin, 1998. "Gender Composition and Wages: Why Is Canada Different from the United States?," CIRANO Working Papers 98s-34, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:98s-34
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    File URL: https://cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/98s-34.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Prus, Steven G., 2011. "Comparing social determinants of self-rated health across the United States and Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 50-59, July.
    2. Nicole M. Fortin & Michael Baker, 1999. "Women's Wages in Women's Work: A U.S./Canada Comparison of the Roles of Unions and "Public Goods" Sector Jobs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 198-203, May.
    3. Michael Baker & Nicole Fortin, 2000. "Comparable Worth Comes to the Private Sector: The Case of Ontario," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0266, Econometric Society.
    4. Dickson Thomas NDAMSA & Aloysius Mom NJONG & Francis Menjo BAYE & Jackson YOUYEM, 2015. "Investigating the role of male advantage and female disadvantage in explaining the discrimination effect of the gender pay gap in the Cameroon labor market. Oaxaca-Ransom decomposition approach," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 1(34), pages 55-72, May.
    5. Raphael, Dennis & Bryant, Toba, 2004. "The welfare state as a determinant of women's health: support for women's quality of life in Canada and four comparison nations," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 63-79, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pay equity; comparable worth; discrimination; gender composition; occupational segregation; unions; cross-country comparison; Équité salariale; salaire égal pour travail de valeur comparable; discrimination; taux de féminité; ségrégation occupationnelle; syndicat; comparaisons internationales;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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