IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/lserod/20034.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Why is the rate of return to schooling higher for women than for men?

Author

Listed:
  • Dougherty, Christopher

Abstract

The rate of return to schooling appears to be nearly two percentage points greater for females than for males in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data set, despite the fact that females tend to earn less, both absolutely and controlling for personal characteristics. A survey of previous studies reporting wage equations reveals that a higher return to female schooling appears to be the norm, although it has not attracted comment. This paper considers various explanations. The most important involves the detrimental impact of discrimination and other factors that cause women to accept wage offers that undervalue their characteristics. It is hypothesized that the better educated is a woman, the more able and willing she is to overcome the se handicaps and compete with men in the labour market, and an index of discrimination disaggregated by years of schooling is constructed using Oaxaca decompositions. This index is indeed negatively correlated with schooling and it accounts for about one half of the differential in the male and female schooling coefficients. Next considered is the possibility that part of the differential could be attributable to male-female differences in the quality of educational attainment, as proxied by their academic outcomes in high school. The NLSY females did indeed perform better than the males, but there is little association between academic attainment and Earnings and allowing for it made no difference to the estimate of the differential in the returns to schooling. The third explanation considered is that women choose to work in sectors where education is relatively highly valued. Controlling for this effect does indeed account for much of the remaining differential.

Suggested Citation

  • Dougherty, Christopher, 2003. "Why is the rate of return to schooling higher for women than for men?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20034, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20034
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20034/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. O'Neill, June & Polachek, Solomon, 1993. "Why the Gender Gap in Wages Narrowed in the 1980s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-228, January.
    2. James J. Heckman, 1976. "The Common Structure of Statistical Models of Truncation, Sample Selection and Limited Dependent Variables and a Simple Estimator for Such Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 4, pages 475-492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-465, July.
    5. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
    6. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Kenny, Lawrence W, et al, 1979. "Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-Selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 775-789, October.
    8. Dougherty, Christopher R. S. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1991. "The specification of earnings functions: Tests and implications," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 85-98, June.
    9. Cotton, Jeremiah, 1988. "On the Decomposition of Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 236-243, May.
    10. Reimers, Cordelia W, 1983. "Labor Market Discrimination against Hispanic and Black Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 570-579, November.
    11. Mary Corcoran & Greg J. Duncan, 1979. "Work History, Labor Force Attachment, and Earnings Differences between the Races and Sexes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(1), pages 3-20.
    12. Joseph G. Altonji, 1995. "The Effects of High School Curriculum on Education and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 409-438.
    13. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
    14. Gunderson, Morley, 1989. "Male-Female Wage Differentials and Policy Responses," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 46-72, March.
    15. Betts, Julian R, 1995. "Does School Quality Matter? Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 231-250, May.
    16. Malcolm S. Cohen, 1971. "Sex Differences in Compensation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 6(4), pages 434-447.
    17. Thomas N. Daymonti & Paul J. Andrisani, 1984. "Job Preferences, College Major, and the Gender Gap in Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(3), pages 408-428.
    18. 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.
    19. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
    20. Murnane, Richard J & Willett, John B & Levy, Frank, 1995. "The Growing Importance of Cognitive Skills in Wage Determination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(2), pages 251-266, May.
    21. 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.
    22. Ronald L. Oaxaca & Michael R. Ransom, 1999. "Identification in Detailed Wage Decompositions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 154-157, February.
    23. Jeff Grogger & Eric Eide, 1995. "Changes in College Skills and the Rise in the College Wage Premium," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 280-310.
    24. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Zajacova, Anna, 2006. "Education, gender, and mortality: Does schooling have the same effect on mortality for men and women in the US?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(8), pages 2176-2190, October.
    2. Mamun, Shamsul Arifeen Khan & Taylor, Brad R. & Nghiem, Son & Rahman, Mohammad Mafizur & Khanam, Rasheda, 2021. "The private returns to education in rural Bangladesh," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    3. Francesco Pastore, 2009. "School-to-Work Transitions in Mongolia," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 6(2), pages 245-264, December.
    4. Gimpelson, Vladimir & Kapeliushnikov, Rostislav, 2017. "Age and Education in the Russian Labour Market Equation," IZA Discussion Papers 11126, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Amy Y. C. Liu, 2006. "Changing wage structure and education in Vietnam, 1992–98," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 14(4), pages 681-706, October.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. C Dougherty, 2003. "Why is the Rate of Return to Schooling Higher For Women Than For Men?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0581, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Christopher Dougherty, 2005. "Why Are the Returns to Schooling Higher for Women than for Men?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 969-988.
    3. Garcia-Aracil, Adela & Winter, Carolyn, 2006. "Gender and ethnicity differentials in school attainment and labor market earnings in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 289-307, February.
    4. Günalp, Burak & Cilasun, Seyit Mümin & Acar, Elif Öznur, 2013. "Male-Female Labor Market Participation and the Extent of Gender-Based Wage Discrimination in Turkey," MPRA Paper 51503, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Günalp, Burak & Cilasun, Seyit Mümin & Acar, Elif Öznur, 2013. "Male-Female Labor Market Participation and the Extent of Gender-Based Wage Discrimination in Turkey," MPRA Paper 51503, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
    7. Brian A. Jacob, 2002. "Where the boys aren't: Non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," NBER Working Papers 8964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Brown, Charles & Corcoran, Mary, 1997. "Sex-Based Differences in School Content and the Male-Female Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 431-465, July.
    9. Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & Mathias G. Sinning, 2014. "Distributional Changes in the Gender Wage Gap," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(2), pages 335-361, April.
    10. Lin, Eric S., 2010. "Gender wage gaps by college major in Taiwan: Empirical evidence from the 1997-2003 Manpower Utilization Survey," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 156-164, February.
    11. Dominique Meurs & Sophie Ponthieux, 2006. "L'écart des salaires entre les femmes et les hommes peut-il encore baisser ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 398(1), pages 99-129.
    12. Noe', Chiara, 2009. "Subject of degree and the gender wage gap: Evidence from Italy," MPRA Paper 47289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Adam Pilny, 2017. "Explaining Differentials in Subsidy Levels Among Hospital Ownership Types in Germany," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(5), pages 566-581, May.
    14. Pedro Jesús Hernandez Martinez, 1995. "Análisis empírico de la discriminación salarial de la mujer en España," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 19(2), pages 195-215, May.
    15. Ronald Bachmann & Mathias Sinning, 2016. "Decomposing the Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(6), pages 853-876, December.
    16. Engelbert Theurl & Hannes Winner, 2011. "The male–female gap in physician earnings: evidence from a public health insurance system," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(10), pages 1184-1200, October.
    17. Michal Myck & Gillian Paull, 2001. "The role of employment experience in explaining the gender wage gap," IFS Working Papers W01/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    18. Stewart Williams, Jennifer Anne, 2009. "Using non-linear decomposition to explain the discriminatory effects of male-female differentials in access to care: A cardiac rehabilitation case study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1072-1079, October.
    19. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 1, pages 1-102, Elsevier.
    20. Sami Napari, 2008. "The Early‐career Gender Wage Gap among University Graduates in the Finnish Private Sector," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(4), pages 697-733, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    returns to education; wage equations;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: LSERO Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.