IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gender Gaps in Education and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States: The Impact of Employers' Prejudice


  • Luca Flabbi


  • Mauricio Tejada


This paper makes three contributions to the existing literature. First, it provides descriptive evidence on gender differentials by education level in the US labor market over the last twenty years. Second, it uses the structural estimation of a search model of the labor market to identify and quantify the impact of employers' prejudice on labor market gender differentials. Third, it connects both the descriptive and the analytical findings to recent policy interventions in the US labor market and presents some policy experiments. The results show that prejudice may still have a role in explaining the evidence on gender differentials and there is at least one scenario where the possibility of the presence of prejudiced employers in the labor market has substantial effects. In particular, it is responsible for the reversal of the returns to schooling ranking in recent years and it may explain up to 44% of the gender wage gap of the top education group (Master and PhD) in 2005. Since prejudice is still important, policy interventions may be effective in attaining both efficiency and welfare gains. The paper is in favor of implementing an affirmative action policy because it is frequently able to close the gender gap without reducing overall welfare and because it is effective in targeting the group that should take center stage in the future debate about gender differentials: high-skilled, high-earners workers, who also have family responsibilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Flabbi & Mauricio Tejada, 2012. "Gender Gaps in Education and Labor Market Outcomes in the United States: The Impact of Employers' Prejudice," Research Department Publications 4819, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4819

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ana Maria Iregui & Ligia Melo & Jorge Ramos, 2004. "El Impuesto Predial En Colombia: Evolución Reciente, Comportamiento De Las Tarifas Y Potencial De Recaudo," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, December.
    2. Faguet, Jean-Paul & Sánchez, Fabio, 2008. "Decentralization's Effects on Educational Outcomes in Bolivia and Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 1294-1316, July.
    3. Andrew Haughwout & Robert Inman & Steven Craig & Thomas Luce, 2004. "Local Revenue Hills: Evidence from Four U.S. Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 570-585, May.
    4. Helmuth Cremer & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau, 1996. "Interregional redistribution through tax surcharge," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(2), pages 157-173, May.
    5. Cadena Ximena, 2002. "¿La descentralización empereza? Efecto de las transferencias sobre los ingresos tributarios municipales en Colombia," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, September.
    6. Juan David Barón R. & Adolfo Meisel R., 2003. "La descentralización y las disparidades económicas regionales en Colombia en la década de 1990," COYUNTURA ECONÓMICA, FEDESARROLLO, September.
    7. IREGUI, Ana María & Ligia Melo & Jorge Ramos, 2005. "El impuesto predial en Colombia: factores explicativos del recaudo," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, June.
    8. Daniel R. Feenberg & Andrew W. Mitrusi & James M. Poterba, 1997. "Distributional Effects of Adopting a National Retail Sales Tax," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 49-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2001. "Does decentralization increase responsiveness to local needs? - evidence from Bolivia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2516, The World Bank.
    10. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    11. Roy Bahl & Sally Wallace, 2008. "Reforming the Property Tax in Developing Countries: A New Approach," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0819, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    12. Ramírez Jaramillo, Juan Carlos & Osorio, Horacio & Parra-Peña S., Rafael Isidro, 2007. "Escalafón de la competitividad de los departamentos en Colombia," Estudios y Perspectivas – Oficina de la CEPAL en Bogotá 16, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    13. Weingast, Barry R., 2009. "Second generation fiscal federalism: The implications of fiscal incentives," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 279-293, May.
    14. Battese, G E & Coelli, T J, 1995. "A Model for Technical Inefficiency Effects in a Stochastic Frontier Production Function for Panel Data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 325-332.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Juan Sebastián Muñoz, 2014. "Re-estimating the Gender Gap in Colombian Academic Performance," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4762, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Juan Sebastian Munoz, 2014. "Re-estimating the Gender Gap in Colombian Academic Performance," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-469, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Martín Rossi & Christian Ruzzier, 2015. "Career Choices and the Evolution of the College Gender Gap," Working Papers 120, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Mar 2015.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination


    Access and download statistics


    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:idb:wpaper:4819. 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: (Felipe Herrera Library). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.