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Why choose women's work if it pays less? A structural model of occupational choice

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  • M. Melinda Pitts

Abstract

This paper controls for the selection bias associated with occupational choice and the labor force participation decision in estimating the wage penalty for working in female-dominated occupations. Using data from the May 1979 and the April 1993 supplements to the Current Population Survey, the author finds that women working in female-dominated occupations have similar or higher expected wages in their chosen occupation compared to nonfemale-dominated occupations. This result indicates that there is efficient matching between occupations and skills for women in the labor force and refutes the theories of occupational segregation or crowding as determinants of the gender wage differential.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Melinda Pitts, 2002. "Why choose women's work if it pays less? A structural model of occupational choice," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2002-30, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2002-30
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204, Elsevier.
    3. Elaine Sorensen, 1989. "Measuring the Pay Disparity between Typically Female Occupations and other Jobs: A Bivariate Selectivity Approach," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 42(4), pages 624-639, July.
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    5. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
    6. Johnson, George & Solon, Gary, 1986. "Estimates of the Direct Effects of Comparable Worth Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1117-1125, December.
    7. Barbara R. Bergmann, 1974. "Occupational Segregation, Wages and Profits When Employers Discriminate by Race or Sex," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 103-110, April.
    8. Macpherson, David A & Hirsch, Barry T, 1995. "Wages and Gender Composition: Why Do Women's Jobs Pay Less?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 426-471, July.
    9. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102, Elsevier.
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    11. repec:eee:labchp:v:1:y:1986:i:c:p:693-785 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Polachek,Solomon W. & Siebert,W. Stanley, 1993. "The Economics of Earnings," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521367288.
    13. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-433, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts, 2007. "Evidence of demand factors in the determination of the labor market intermittency penalty," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2007-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    2. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Anil Rupasingha, 2016. "Wage Determination in Social Occupations: the Role of Individual Social Capital," Working Papers 16-46, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts, 2007. "The Role of Labor Market Intermittency in Explaining Gender Wage Differentials," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 417-421, May.
    4. Christine Siegwarth Meyer & Swati Mukerjee, 2007. "Investigating Dual Labor Market Theory For Women," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 301-316, Summer.
    5. T. Clifton Green & Narasimhan Jegadeesh & Yue Tang, 2007. "Gender and Job Performance: Evidence from Wall Street," NBER Working Papers 12897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    Keywords

    Employment (Economic theory); Wages; Labor supply;
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