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Is the Gender Pay Gap in the US Just the Result of Gender Segregation at Work?

Listed author(s):
  • Meara, Katie

    ()

    (Bournemouth University)

  • Pastore, Francesco

    ()

    (Università della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli)

  • Webster, Allan

    ()

    (Bournemouth University)

This study examines the gender wage gap between male and female workers in the US using a cross-section from the Current Population Survey (CPS) It shows that the extent of gender segregation by both industry and occupation is significantly greater than previously supposed. For the wage gap this creates problems of sample selection bias, of non-comparability between male and female employment. To address these problems the study uses a matching approach, which we also extend to a more recent methodological version with a yet stronger statistical foundation – Inverse Probability Weighted Regression Adjustment (IPWRA) – not previously used in related studies. Despite this, doubts remain about even these well founded and appropriate techniques in the presence of such strong gender segregation. To secure even greater precision we repeat the matching analysis for a small number of industries and occupations, each carefully selected for employing similar numbers of men and women. This is an approach that has not previously been explored in the relevant literature. The findings for the full sample are replicated at the level of industry and occupation, where comparability is more reliable. The study supports the view of the existing literature that the gender wage gap varies by factors such as age and parenthood. But it also finds that, even when these and other important "control" variables such as part-time working, industry and occupation are taken into account, a statistically significant gender wage gap remains.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10673.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10673
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  1. Alan Manning & Joanna Swaffield, 2008. "The gender gap in early-career wage growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 983-1024, July.
  2. Matias D. Cattaneo & David M. Drukker & Ashley D. Holland, 2013. "Estimation of multivalued treatment effects under conditional independence," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 13(3), pages 407-450, September.
  3. Cattaneo, Matias D., 2010. "Efficient semiparametric estimation of multi-valued treatment effects under ignorability," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 155(2), pages 138-154, April.
  4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2017. "The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(3), pages 789-865, September.
  5. Matias Busso & John DiNardo & Justin McCrary, 2014. "New Evidence on the Finite Sample Properties of Propensity Score Reweighting and Matching Estimators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 885-897, December.
  6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2013. "Female Labor Supply: Why Is the United States Falling Behind?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 251-256, May.
  7. Stěpán Jurajda, 2005. "Gender Segregation and Wage Gap: An East-West Comparison," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 598-607, 04/05.
  8. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, 07.
  9. 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.
  10. Francesco Pastore & Alina Verashchagina, 2011. "When does transition increase the gender wage gap?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 19(2), pages 333-369, April.
  11. Solomon W. Polachek, 2014. "Equal pay legislation and the gender wage gap," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-16, May.
  12. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2015. "Wage compression and the gender pay gap," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 150-150, April.
  13. Chiara Mussida & Matteo Picchio, 2014. "The gender wage gap by education in Italy," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(1), pages 117-147, March.
  14. Remco H. Oostendorp, 2009. "Globalization and the Gender Wage Gap," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 23(1), pages 141-161, January.
  15. 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.
  16. repec:iza:izawol:journl:y:2014:p:16 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Pastore,Francesco & Sattar,Sarosh & Sinha,Nistha & Tiongson,Erwin H. R., 2016. "When do gender wage differences emerge ? a study of Azerbaijan's labor market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7613, The World Bank.
  18. repec:iza:izawol:journl:y:2015:p:150 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Acemoglu, Daron & Autor, David, 2011. "Skills, Tasks and Technologies: Implications for Employment and Earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  20. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 4-29, February.
  21. Marianne Bertrand & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2010. "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 228-255, July.
  22. Polachek, Solomon William, 1981. "Occupational Self-Selection: A Human Capital Approach to Sex Differences in Occupational Structure," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 60-69, February.
  23. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
  24. Solomon William Polachek, 1985. "Occupation Segregation: A Defense of Human Capital Predictions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(3), pages 437-440.
  25. John F. Ermisch & Robert E. Wright, 1993. "Wage Offers and Full-Time and Part-Time Employment by British Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 111-133.
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