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Swimming Upstream, Floating Downstream: Trends in the U.S. and Danish Gender Wage Gaps

Author

Listed:
  • Gubta, Nabanita Datta

    () (Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Aarhus School of Business)

  • Oaxaca, Ronald L.

    (The University of Arizona)

  • Smith, Nina

    () (Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

While the gender wage gap has reduced considerably in the U.S. since the late 1970s, in Denmark it has virtually stagnated over the same period. Using the U.S. CPS and the Danish Longitudinal Sample data, we compare the development in the gender wage gaps in these two countries between 1983-1995 in both time-series and microeconometric analyses. We present a new decomposition methodology that is anchored on the overall wage distribution and show that the difference in the rates of convergence of the wage gaps in the two countries in this period can be explained by inter-country differences in the wage effects of observed skill prices and gender differences in selectivity. In Denmark, these effects have wiped out any gains arising from women's skill- improvement. In the U.S., these effects have not offset women's wage gains due to skill-improvement. Decompositions at different deciles of the distribution show that women at the highest decile in Denmark have the biggest increase in the wage gap in this period, primarily due to unobservables. In the U.S., the decline in the wage gap is largest at the top and at the middle of the distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Gubta, Nabanita Datta & Oaxaca, Ronald L. & Smith, Nina, 2002. "Swimming Upstream, Floating Downstream: Trends in the U.S. and Danish Gender Wage Gaps," CLS Working Papers 01-6, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aarcls:2001_006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina, 2002. "Children and Career Interruptions: The Family Gap in Denmark," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(276), pages 609-629, November.
    2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    3. Blackaby, D. H. & Murphy, P. D. & O'Leary, N. C., 1999. "The payment of public sector workers in the UK: reconciliation with North American findings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 239-243, November.
    4. James Albrecht & Anders Bjorklund & Susan Vroman, 2003. "Is There a Glass Ceiling in Sweden?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 145-177, January.
    5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317.
    6. Gupta, N.D. & Oaxaca, R.L. & Smith, N., 1998. "Wage Dispersion, Public Sector Wages and the Stagnating Danish Gender Wage Gap," Papers 98-18, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
    7. 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.
    8. Rosholm, Michael & Smith, Nina, 1996. "The Danish Gender Wage Gap in the 1980s: A Panel Data Study," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 254-279, April.
    9. Blau, Francine D & Kahn, Lawrence M, 1992. "The Gender Earnings Gap: Learning from International Comparisons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 533-538, May.
    10. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Filippin, Antonio & Ichino, Andrea, 2005. "Gender wage gap in expectations and realizations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 125-145, February.
    2. Albrecht, James & van Vuuren, Aico & Vroman, Susan, 2004. "Decomposing the Gender Wage Gap in the Netherlands with Sample Selection Adjustments," IZA Discussion Papers 1400, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Claudia Olivetti, 2008. "Gender and the Labour Market: An International Perspective and the Case of Italy," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 98(3), pages 3-32, May-June.
    4. Albrecht, James & van Vuuren, Aico & Vroman, Susan, 2009. "Counterfactual distributions with sample selection adjustments: Econometric theory and an application to the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 383-396, August.
    5. Lausten, Mette, 2001. "Gender Differences in Managerial Compensation - Evidences from Denmark," Working Papers 01-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Westergaard-Nielsen, Niels, 2001. "Danish Labour Market Policy: Is it worth it?," CLS Working Papers 01-10, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research.
    7. Kaya, Ezgi, 2014. "Gender Wage Gap Trends in Europe: The Role of Occupational Allocation and Skill Prices," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2014/23, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Gender wage gaps; Decomposition method;

    JEL classification:

    • J70 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - General

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