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The Gender Pay Gap across Countries: A Human Capital Approach

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  • Solomon W. Polachek
  • Jun Xiang

Abstract

The gender wage gap varies across countries. For example, among OECD nations women in Australia, Belgium, Italy and Sweden earn 80% as much as males, whereas in Austria, Canada and Japan women earn about 60%. Current studies examining cross-country differences focus on the impact of labor market institutions such as minimum wage laws and nationwide collective bargaining. However, these studies neglect labor market institutions that affect women'slifetime work behavior - a factor crucially important in gender wage gap studies that employ individual data. This paper explicitly concentrates on labor market institutions that are related to female lifetime work that affect the gender wage gap across countries. Using ISSP (International Social Survey Programme), LIS (Luxembourg Income Study) and OECD wage data for 35 countries covering 1970-2002, we show that the gender pay gap is positively associated with the fertilityrate (treated exogenously and endogenously with religion as the instrument), positively associated with the husbandwifeage gap at first marriage, and positively related to the top marginal tax rate, all factors which negatively affect women's lifetime labor force participation. In addition, we show that collective bargaining, as found in previous studies, is negatively associated with the gender pay gap.

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  • Solomon W. Polachek & Jun Xiang, 2009. "The Gender Pay Gap across Countries: A Human Capital Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 227, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp227
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Burda & Daniel Hamermesh & Philippe Weil, 2013. "Total work and gender: facts and possible explanations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 239-261, January.
    2. Humphreys, Brad & Maresova, Katerina & Ruseski, Jane, 2012. "Institutional Factors, Sport Policy, and Individual Sport Participation: An International Comparison," Working Papers 2012-1, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    3. Lucia Bartùsková & Karina Kubelková, 2014. "Main Challanges in Measuring Gender Inequality," Proceedings of FIKUSZ '14,in: Pál Michelberger (ed.), Proceedings of FIKUSZ '14, pages 19-28 Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management.
    4. Franz, Nele, 2011. "Geschlechtsspezifische Verdienstunterschiede und Diskriminierung am Arbeitsmarkt: Eine Untersuchung unter Berücksichtigung von Voll- und Teilzeitarbeit," CIW Discussion Papers 11/2011, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    5. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Marriage Age Affects Educational Gender Inequality: International Evidence," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    6. Jane E. Ruseski & Katerina Maresova, 2014. "Economic Freedom, Sport Policy, And Individual Participation In Physical Activity: An International Comparison," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(1), pages 42-55, January.
    7. Tiiu Paas & Maryna Tverdostup, 2016. "Assessment of labour market returns in the case of gender unique human capital," ERSA conference papers ersa16p157, European Regional Science Association.
    8. BARGAIN Olivier & DOORLEY Karina & VAN KERM Philippe, 2016. "Minimum wages and the gender gap in pay. Evidence from the UK and Ireland," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-02, LISER.
    9. Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde, 2017. "When the opportunity knocks: large structural shocks and gender wage gaps," GRAPE Working Papers 2, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements

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