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An Extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Technique to Logit and Probit Models


  • Robert W. Fairlie


The Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition technique is widely used to identify and quantify the separate contributions of group differences in measurable characteristics, such as education, experience, marital status, and geographical differences to racial and gender gaps in outcomes. The technique cannot be used directly, however, if the outcome is binary and the coefficients are from a logit or probit model. I describe a relatively simple method of performing a decomposition that uses estimates from a logit or probit model. Expanding on the original application of the technique in Fairlie (1999), I provide a more thorough discussion of how to apply the technique, an analysis of the sensitivity of the decomposition estimates to different parameters, and the calculation of standard errors.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. Fairlie, 2003. "An Extension of the Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Technique to Logit and Probit Models," Working Papers 873, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:873

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. F. L. Jones, 1983. "On Decomposing the Wage Gap: A Critical Comment on Blinder's Method," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 18(1), pages 126-130.
    2. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    3. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    4. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
    5. David Neumark, 1988. "Employers' Discriminatory Behavior and the Estimation of Wage Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 279-295.
    6. Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Ransom, Michael R., 1994. "On discrimination and the decomposition of wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 5-21, March.
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    More about this item


    Logit; Probit; Decomposition; Race; Gender; Discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • C8 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination


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