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The Labor Market Gender Gap in Denmark: Sorting Out the Past 30 Years

Author

Listed:
  • Gallen, Yana

    (Harris School, University of Chicago)

  • Lesner, Rune V.

    (Aarhus University)

  • Vejlin, Rune Majlund

    (Aarhus University)

Abstract

We document the declining gap between the average earnings of women and men in Denmark from 1980 to 2010. The decline in the earnings gap is driven by increased labor force participation and increases in hours worked by women, and to a smaller extent by a decline in the gender wage gap. The gap has declined least among higher earning women – the average wage of the top 10 percent of female earners is 28-33% lower than the average wage of the top 10 percent of male earners. Women are becoming more educated and are a larger share of the professional labor force than in previous decades, but a substantial wage gap of about 10 percent remains for the youngest cohorts even after controlling for age, education, experience, occupation, and firm choice. Unlike the case of the US, differences in educational attainment, occupational choice, industry, and experience explained about 15 percentage points of the Danish wage gap in 1980, but now these factors explain only about 6 percentage points of the Danish wage gap. In fact, though variation in the wage gap across occupations is substantial, this variation is not correlated with the fraction of the occupation which is female. The data show a great deal of sorting and segregation across industries, occupations, and even firms. However, this sorting does not explain more than half of the wage gap. We conclude that a great deal of the remaining disparity between the wages of women and men is tied to the differential effects of parenthood by gender.

Suggested Citation

  • Gallen, Yana & Lesner, Rune V. & Vejlin, Rune Majlund, 2017. "The Labor Market Gender Gap in Denmark: Sorting Out the Past 30 Years," IZA Discussion Papers 10789, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10789
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    Cited by:

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    2. Niels-Jakob Harbo Hansen & Karl Harmenberg & Erik Öberg & Hans Henrik Sievertsen, 2021. "Gender disparities in top earnings: measurement and facts for Denmark 1980-2013," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(2), pages 347-362, June.
    3. Sarah Louise Jewell & Giovanni Razzu & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Who Works for Whom and the UK Gender Pay Gap," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 58(1), pages 50-81, March.
    4. Jaanika Meriküll & Maryna Tverdostup, 2020. "The Gap That Survived The Transition: The Gender Wage Gap Over Three Decades In Estonia," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 127, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    5. Li, Jiang & Dostie, Benoit & Simard-Duplain, Gaëlle, 2020. "What Is the Role of Firm-Specific Pay Policies on the Gender Earnings Gap in Canada?," IZA Discussion Papers 13907, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Dostie, Benoit & Li, Jiang & Card, David & Parent, Daniel, 2020. "Employer Policies and the Immigrant-Native Earnings Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 13245, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. 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.
    8. Henri Luomarant & Fernando Cantu & Steve MacFeely & Anu Peltola, . "The role of multinational and trading enterprises in employment and the gender pay gap: evidence from Finland," UNCTAD Transnational Corporations Journal, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    9. Yana Gallen, 2018. "Motherhood and the Gender Productivity Gap," Working Papers 2018-091, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    10. Yolanda F. Rebollo-Sanz & Sara de la Rica, 2020. "From gender gaps in skills to gender gaps in wages: Evidence from PIAAC," Working Papers 20.09, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    11. Jaan Masso & Jaanika Meriküll & Priit Vahter, 2020. "The Role Of Firms In The Gender Wage Gap," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 120, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender pay gap; sorting;

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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