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A quantitative theory of the gender gap in wages

Author

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  • Andrés Erosa

    (IMDEA Ciencias Sociales)

  • Luisa Fuster

    (IMDEA Ciencias Sociales)

  • Diego Restuccia

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

This paper measures how much of the gender wage gap over the life cycle is due to the fact that working hours are lower for women than for men. We build a quantitative theory of fertility, labor supply, and human capital accumulation decisions to measure gender differences in human capital investments over the life cycle. We assume that there are no gender differences in the human capital technology and calibrate this technology using wage-age profiles of men. The calibration of females assumes that children reduce the hours of work of mothers and that there is an exogenous gendergap in hours of work. We find that our theory accounts for all of the increase in the gender wage gap over the life cycle in the NLSY79 data. The impact of children on the labor supply of females accounts for 56% and 45% of the increase in the gender wage gap over the life cycle among non-college and college individuals. We also find that children play an important role in understanding the variation of the gender wage gap across recent cohorts of women and the slower wage growth faced by black women relative to non-black women in the U.S. economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "A quantitative theory of the gender gap in wages," Working Papers 2010-04, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 20 Oct 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2010-04
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    Cited by:

    1. Keller, Elisa, 2019. "Labor supply and gender differences in occupational choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 221-241.
    2. Sebastien Buttet & Alice Schoonbroodt, 2013. "An accounting exercise for the shift in life-cycle employment profiles of married women born between 1940 and 1960 [Eine Bilanzierung der Verschiebungen der Lebensverlauf-Beschäftigungsprofile von ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 46(3), pages 253-271, September.
    3. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula E. Gobbi, 2015. "Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1852-1882, June.
    4. Magdalena Smyk & Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde, 2021. "A Cautionary Note on the Reliability of the Online Survey Data: The Case of Wage Indicator," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 50(1), pages 429-464, February.
    5. Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz & Magda Malec, 2018. "Evaluating welfare and economic effects of raised fertility," GRAPE Working Papers 25, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    6. Tobias Laun & Johanna Wallenius, 2021. "Having It All? Employment, Earnings, and Children," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 123(1), pages 353-381, January.
    7. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 231-276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Andres Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Diego Restuccia, 2010. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Parental Leave Policies," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(4), pages 742-758, October.
    9. George-Levi Gayle & Limor Golan, "undated". "Estimating a Dynamic Adverse Selection Model: Labor Force Experience and the Changing Gender Earnings Gap 1968-93," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E40, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    10. Cociuba, Simona E. & Ueberfeldt, Alexander, 2015. "Heterogeneity and long-run changes in aggregate hours and the labor wedge," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 75-95.
    11. Troeger, Vera E. & Di Leo, Riccardo & Scotto, Thomas J. & Epifanio, Mariaelisa, 2020. "Motherhood in Academia: A Novel Dataset with an Application to Maternity Leave Uptake," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 518, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Inés Berniell & Lucila Berniell & Dolores de la Mata & María Edo & Yarine Fawaz & Matilde P. Machado & Mariana Marchionni, 2020. "Motherhood, Labor Market Trajectories, and the Allocation of Talent: Harmonized Evidence on 29 Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0270, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    13. Naomi Gershoni & Corinne Low, 2020. "The Power of Time: The Impact of Free IVF on Women’s Human Capital Investments," Working Papers 2011, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    14. Fernando Borraz & Cecilia Robano, 2010. "Brecha Salarial en Uruguay," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business, vol. 25(1), pages 49-77, June.
    15. Gershoni, Naomi & Low, Corinne, 2021. "The power of time: The impact of free IVF on Women’s human capital investments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    16. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov & Richard Rogerson, 2017. "Hours, Occupations, and Gender Differences in Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 23636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Tiago Cavalcanti & José Tavares, 2016. "The Output Cost of Gender Discrimination: A Model‐based Macroeconomics Estimate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 109-134, February.
    18. Ramskogler, Paul & Riedl, Aleksandra & Schoiswohl, Florian, 2020. "Swinging female labor demand – How the public sector influences gender wage gaps in Europe," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 302, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    19. Julie L. Hotchkiss & John C. Robertson, 2006. "Asymmetric labor force participation decisions over the business cycle: evidence from U.S. microdata," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    20. Sara Rica & Juan Dolado & Cecilia Garcia Peñalosa, 2012. "GINI DP 24: On gender gaps and self-fulfilling expectations: An alternative approach based on paid-for-training," GINI Discussion Papers 24, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    21. Christian Siegel, 2012. "Female Employment and Fertility - The Effects of Rising Female Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp1156, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    22. Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2009. "Who's afraid of population aging?," 2009 Meeting Papers 778, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    23. Diana Galos & Nevena Kulic, 2020. "The occupational returns to field of study: a gender perspective," Working Papers 78, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
    24. Troeger, Vera E. & Di Leo, Riccardo & Scotto, Thomas J. & Epifanio, Mariaelisa, 2020. "Motherhood in Academia : A Novel Dataset with an Application to Maternity Leave Uptake," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1312, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    25. Rainald Borck, 2011. "Adieu Rabenmutter - The Effect of Culture on Fertility, Female Labour Supply, the Gender Wage Gap and Childcare," CESifo Working Paper Series 3337, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender wage gap; employment; experience; fertility; human capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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