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Job Assignment and the Gender Wage Differential: Theory and Evidence on Finnish Metalworkers

  • Vartiainen, Juhana

    (Trade Union Institute for Economic Research)

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    We study the determinants of the gender wage differential by using a data set on Finnish blue-collar metalworkers. The assignment of men and women into jobs of different complexity is a key factor that widens the final wage differential. Using the theory of optimal job assignment, we propose a model of individual productivity, ability and job complexity and formulate a hypothesis of asymmetric assignment according to which men and women of equal ability are allocated to different job levels. Using econometric panel data techniques, we find support for this hypothesis. The results are consistent with the Lazear-Rosen model of job ladders but can alternatively be interpreted as evidence for gender discrimination in job assignment.

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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/fiefwp/papers/WP149.pdf
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    Paper provided by Trade Union Institute for Economic Research in its series Working Paper Series with number 149.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Apr 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:fiefwp:0149
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    1. 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.
    2. Breusch, Trevor S & Mizon, Grayham E & Schmidt, Peter, 1989. "Efficient Estimation Using Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 695-700, May.
    3. Teulings, Coen N, 1995. "The Wage Distribution in a Model of the Assignment of Skills to Jobs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 280-315, April.
    4. Amemiya, Takeshi & MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1986. "Instrumental-Variable Estimation of an Error-Components Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 869-80, July.
    5. Sattinger, Michael, 1979. "Differential Rents and the Distribution of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 60-71, March.
    6. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
    7. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1990. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S106-23, January.
    8. 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.
    9. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf & Zweimuller, Josef, 1997. "Unequal Assignment and Unequal Promotion in Job Ladders," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 43-71, January.
    10. Lazear, Edward P, 1986. "Salaries and Piece Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 405-31, July.
    11. Sattinger, Michael, 1975. "Comparative Advantage and the Distributions of Earnings and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 455-68, May.
    12. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
    13. van Ophem, Hans & Hartog, Joop & Vijverberg, Wim P M, 1993. "Job Complexity and Wages," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(4), pages 853-72, November.
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