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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Laun, Tobias & Wallenius, Johanna, 2017. "Having It All? Employment, Earnings and Children," Working Paper Series 2017:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Fernando Borraz & Cecilia Robano, 2010. "Brecha Salarial en Uruguay," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 25(1), pages 49-77, June.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Christian Siegel, 2012. "Female Employment and Fertility - The Effects of Rising Female Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp1156, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    11. Alexander Ueberfeldt, 2009. "Who's afraid of population aging?," 2009 Meeting Papers 778, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Thomas Baudin & David De La Croix & Paula Gobbi, 2012. "DINKs, DEWKs & Co. Marriage, Fertility and Childlessness in the United States," Working Papers hal-00993307, HAL.
    13. 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 Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender wage gap; employment; experience; fertility; human capital;

    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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