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Rhetoric in Economic Research: The Case of Gender Wage Differentials

Author

Listed:
  • Weichselbaumer, Doris

    (Department of Economics, University of Linz)

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

    (Department of Economics and Finance, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna)

Abstract

Scientific rhetoric can have a profound impact on the perception of research; it can also drive and direct further research efforts. What determines whether results are discussed in a neutral or a judgmental way? How convincing must results be so that authors call for significant policy changes? These questions are difficult to answer, because rhetoric on the one hand, and content and methodology of research on the other hand, cannot be separated easily. We use a unique example to examine this question empirically: the analysis of gender wage differentials. The Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition represents a standard research method that compares male and female earnings, holding productivity constant. We analyze the wording in these studies and their prevalence to ask for policy intervention. Furthermore, we examine whether the rhetoric used reveals an author's prejudice on the topic which may also be reflected in data selection and thereby his or her findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Weichselbaumer, Doris & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2003. "Rhetoric in Economic Research: The Case of Gender Wage Differentials," Economics Series 144, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:144
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    File URL: http://www.ihs.ac.at/publications/eco/es-144.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
    2. Jacques Silber & Michal Weber, 1999. "Labour market discrimination: are there significant differences between the various decomposition procedures?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 359-365.
    3. Doris Weichselbaumer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2005. "A Meta-Analysis of the International Gender Wage Gap," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 479-511, July.
    4. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    5. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
    6. Peter M. DeMarzo & Dimitri Vayanos & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 2003. "Persuasion Bias, Social Influence, and Unidimensional Opinions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 909-968.
    7. 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.
    8. Randall S. Brown & Marilyn Moon & Barbara S. Zoloth, 1980. "Incorporating Occupational Attainment in Studies of Male-Female Earnings Differentials," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(1), pages 3-28.
    9. 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.
    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.
    11. T.D. Stanley & Stephen B. Jarrell, 1998. "Gender Wage Discrimination Bias? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 947-973.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martina Zweimüller & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Doris Weichselbaumer, 2008. "Market Orientation and Gender Wage Gaps: an International Study," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 615-635, November.
    2. Doris Weichselbaumer & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2005. "A Meta-Analysis of the International Gender Wage Gap," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 479-511, July.
    3. Mary E. Graham & Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2008. "Elimination of gender-related employment disparities through statistical process control," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    4. Theodore M. Mitrakos, 2004. "Education and economic inequalities," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, issue 23, pages 27-46, July.
    5. Evangelia Papapetrou, 2004. "Gender Wage Differentials in Greece," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, issue 23, pages 47-64, July.
    6. Evangelia Papapetrou, 2008. "Evidence on gender wage differentials in Greece," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 155-166, June.
    7. Theodoros S. Papaspyrou, 2004. "EMU strategies for new Member States: the role of Exchange Rate Mechanism II," Economic Bulletin, Bank of Greece, issue 23, pages 7-25, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rhetoric; Gender wage differential; Discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology

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