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Selection on Ability and the Early Career Growth in the Gender Wage Gap

Listed author(s):
  • Fraga, Eduardo

    ()

    (Yale University)

  • Gonzaga, Gustavo

    ()

    (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio))

  • Soares, Rodrigo R.

    ()

    (Columbia University)

This paper analyzes the effect of selection on ability on the evolution of the gender wage gap during the first years of professional life. We use longitudinal data with 16 years of the early career history of formal sector workers in Brazil. The panel allows us to build a measure of unobserved ability that we use to analyze the dynamics of labor market selection across genders as individuals age. We focus on the cohort born in 1974, for which we have a close to complete history of formal labor market participation. For this cohort, the average ability of formally employed men improved in relation to that of women during the first years of professional life. The selection of men and women into the labor market was similar at age 21, but by age 31 high-ability men (one standard deviation above the mean) had a probability of employment 1.6 percentage point higher than their high-ability female counterparts. This contributed to the increase in the conditional gender wage gap observed in the early career, as the ability distribution of employed women deteriorated in relation to that of employed men. Our estimates suggest that, for the 1974 cohort, this mechanism explains 32% of the cumulative growth in the conditional gender wage gap between ages 21 and 36.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10791.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10791
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  1. Jérôme Adda & Christian Dustmann & Katrien Stevens, 2017. "The Career Costs of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 293-337.
  2. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2006. "The U.S. Gender Pay Gap in the 1990S: Slowing Convergence," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 60(1), pages 45-66, October.
  3. Mincer, Jacob & Polachek, Solomon, 1974. "Family Investment in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 76-108, Part II, .
  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. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tracy Regan & Ronald Oaxaca, 2009. "Work experience as a source of specification error in earnings models: implications for gender wage decompositions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 463-499, April.
  7. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "Gender Differences in Pay," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 75-99, Fall.
  8. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, January.
  9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, November.
  10. Wood, Robert G & Corcoran, Mary E & Courant, Paul N, 1993. "Pay Differences among the Highly Paid: The Male-Female Earnings Gap in Lawyers' Salaries," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 417-441, July.
  11. Machado, Cecilia, 2012. "Selection, Heterogeneity and the Gender Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 7005, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Ian W. Li & Paul W. Miller, 2012. "Gender Discrimination in the Australian Graduate Labour Market," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 15(3), pages 167-199.
  13. 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.
  14. Cain, Glen G, 1976. "The Challenge of Segmented Labor Market Theories to Orthodox Theory: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 1215-1257, December.
  15. Gustavo Gonzaga & Carlos Corseuil & Miguel Foguel & Eduardo Ribeir, 2014. "Youth Labor Market In Brazil Through The Lens Of The Flow Approach," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 234, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
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  18. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01gb19f581g is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Casey B. Mulligan & Yona Rubinstein, 2008. "Selection, Investment, and Women's Relative Wages Over Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1061-1110.
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